An 18-year-old Maryland high school student is facing charges related to an alleged plot to attack her school in April using a shotgun and explosive materials. She kept a detailed journal of her plans and the school’s emergency procedures.
Nicole Cevario, 18, gathered bomb-making materials, ammunition and a shotgun, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, but never brought them to her school, Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Maryland.
Cevario was taken into custody at the school on Thursday, March 23, after one of her parents notified school officials about a potential threat to the school, said Major Tim Clarke, a sheriff’s office spokesman, according to the Frederick News-Post.
Authorities transported Cevario to Frederick Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation, where she remains, according to the sheriff’s office. Upon her release from the hospital, Cevario will be arrested and charged with possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device and possession of incendiary material with intent to create a destructive device, the sheriff’s office said.
The sheriff’s office will hold a press conference at 2:00pm EST on Monday.
Cevario, an honor student, is believed to be the only person involved in the plot, who knew of the plot and, as of Monday, is the only person facing charges for the plans.
At Cevario’s home, investigators found “that she was actively acquiring materials needed to execute the plot,” including a shotgun with ammunition, bomb-making materials, shrapnel, fireworks, magnesium tape and fuse material.
Cevario “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,” the sheriff’s office said.
Investigators also uncovered from the home a journal that “clearly spelled out a detailed shooting event that she planned to execute on a specific date in April at Catoctin High School.”
The journal indicated that Cevario had planned the event “for some time,” the sheriff’s office said, compiling “intelligence on behavior activities of the school, noting emergency procedures associated with drills conducted by school staff and obtaining intelligence on the School Resource Deputy as signed to the school.” The journal included a timeline of her plans, how she would execute the plot and “expectations at each stage of the event,” the sheriff’s office said.
While investigators “are confident of intent,” they are still attempting to determine if Cevario had the “will to execute the event,” the sheriff’s office said. They added that Cevario intended to die while carrying out the plot.
The sheriff’s office said it was apparent that Cevario was “struggling with mental health issues,” prompting the hospital evaluation.
“This is still an ongoing investigation, so there’s a lot of information that we may not be able to go into just yet,” Clarke said Monday, according to the News-Post.
A spokesman for the Frederick County Public Schools said none of the staff at the high school had any indication that Cevario was plotting a potentially violent event at the school, according to the News-Post.
“It is business as usual at Catoctin High,” Michael Doerrer said Monday. “It’s quiet.”
The sheriff’s office, which received assistance from a variety of state and federal agencies in the case, said it was “appreciative of the parents’ actions in bringing this potentially deadly incident to the proper authority’s attention.”