A Maryland father, reading his 18-year-old daughter’s diary, discovered her well-made plans to commit mass slaughter at her high school, then alerted investigators to her plot, thus averting the attack.
Nichole Cevario, an honor roll student at Catoctin High School, had been writing since December of her plans, setting a timeline, the steps of the planned attack, and a target date of April 5. Not only had she accumulated weapons that included a shotgun and elements to construct a pipe bomb, such as pipes with end caps, shrapnel, and fuse material, she also gathered intelligence on emergency procedures at the school during drills and asked how deputies were armed when they responded to a school emergency, according to Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins.
Because she was considered an adult, Cevario was able to purchase the weapons legally.
Jenkins said, “There is no doubt in our minds that we averted a disaster out there,” adding that the planned attack could have been as horrific as the attacks on Columbine High and Sandy Hook Elementary. Maj. Tim Clarke, with the sheriff’s department, added that investigators quickly determined Cevario was acting alone and that no weapons or explosives had been on school grounds.
Jenkins stated, “It was all in her preplanning in her mind, how she was going to carry this out. She looked at the patterns of the deputies; she looked at the entrance and exits of the school, how the school was secured.”
At a news conference Monday, Jenkins said it was obvious the student was mentally ill, but added he had no knowledge from the school that the teen was ill and did not know if she had a disciplinary record. He asserted the evidence investigators found at her home showed “obvious intent was there … The evidence that we got from her home revealed that she was taking steps, active steps, acquiring the materials. including the purchase of a shotgun, the construction of pipe bombs and other explosives.” Jenkins said no bomb had been constructed yet.
According to a press release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, Nichole Cervario intended to die in the attack. It read:
Investigators are confident of the intent, but are still trying to evaluate if Ms. Cevario would have had the will to execute the event, but what was clear from Ms. Cevario is she planned on dying on the date she identified in her journal. The investigation has also revealed she had the means and equipment to have caused a significant life safety event at Catoctin High School if she had followed through with the threat. It was also clear that Ms. Cevario was struggling with mental health issues which prompted the emergency evaluation at Frederick Memorial Hospital.
“There is no doubt in our minds that we averted a disaster out there.”
Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins
Nichole Cevario was committed involuntarily to Frederick Memorial Hospital for a mental health evaluation. Once she is released, she will be arrested and charged with possession of explosive material and possession of incendiary material with the intent to create a destructive device.
She could face 25 years in prison.