Jared Cano, the Tampa, Florida teen arrested for a bomb threat against his high school, was “just venting anger” and would never have actually done it, according to a friend. Cano wrote a manifesto that claimed: on the first day of school, August 23rd at 5:00 a.m., he would launch an attack with a goal of murdering dozens of people. Cano had been expelled from the school in March 2010. He had already been arrested four times.
His friend naively believes that Cano “doesn’t know how to vent,” so he was expressing his frustration by writing a fictional story, a plan he never intended to carry out. This friend played video games with Cano on a regular basis and is likely in understandable denial; but Jared Cano has an “extensive criminal record” according to police, and while some of his charges are merely for marijuana possession, his expulsion from school was due to burglary, and he has been charged with breaking and entering, theft of a firearm, carrying a concealed weapon, and illegal possession of a taser. Anyone with this level of previous criminal activity who issues a bomb threat must be stopped.
Additionally, police found bomb-making material in Cano’s bedroom “including fuses, timers, shrapnel, accelerant and plastic tubing.” His friend innocently explained to local media “I told him, ‘Dude, go in your room, scream in your pillow or something,'” but Jared Cano is clearly a very troubled teenager with a criminal background, and there is sufficient evidence of intent. The Tampa Police Chief, Jane Castor, explained: “The number of casualties they could have caused, the bomb team described it as serious injury including death. He had the ability to do some serious harm at Freedom High School on the first day of school…He had a fuel source, fuel sources; he had shrapnel; he had tubing to make the pipe bombs and he also had fusing and timing devices.” This bomb threat was obviously not play-acting, and it is extremely fortunate that he was caught and arrested before committing mass murder.
Cano stated in his manifesto that he wished to surpass the death count from the infamous Columbine Massacre in April 1999. His ex-girlfriend, Nicolette French, confirmed that he had referenced the Columbine Massacre recently and expressed regret that she did not take him more seriously.
This young man is only seventeen years old; there is hope for him. An anonymous tipster may have not only saved dozens of lives, but may be the catalyst for a very disturbed teenager to get the help he needs to live a healthy, productive life.