School Security: Maryland Parents “See Something, Say Something,” Avert High School Attack
The Sheriff’s Office in Frederick County, Maryland, said last week that a school attack was thwarted after the parents of an 18-year-old student reported that she was planning a mass-casualty attack at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, about 15 miles north of Frederick. The averted potential tragedy highlights the importance of reporting suspicious activity and of maintaining situational awareness in a family setting.
The plot was discovered on March 23, when the parents of 18-year-old Nicole Cevario found a journal describing the plan. Her father immediately took the journal to school officials, who notified the Sheriff’s Office. Cevario was taken into custody at the school and has been charged with possession of explosive and incendiary materials, both with the intent to create a destructive device.
Investigators believe the threat was serious and said Cevario was “actively acquiring materials” needed to conduct an attack, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies found a shotgun, ammunition, and bomb-making materials, including nails for shrapnel, pipes for constructing pipe bombs, fuse material, and fireworks (see photo), at the girl’s home.
The journal included detailed plans to conduct an attack on April 5. It included notes on the school’s emergency procedures, security measures, and the activity patterns of the school resource officer. It also included a timeline for carrying out the attack.
Investigators believe Cevario made the plans alone.
School Security/Passaic County: Two Paterson Students Arrested for Threats to Two Schools
Two students at Eastside High School in Paterson—a 15-year-old male and a 14-year-old female—were arrested on March 28 as they were in the early stages of planning shooting attacks at two schools—both Eastside High School and the New Roberto Clemente Elementary School, which they both formerly attended, according to news media reports, citing school officials. (Photo shows police response at Eastside.) Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale said investigators determined the threat was valid. Police searched both students’ homes and found no weapons. However, both were detained and charged with making terroristic threats, based on statements they had made during the previous week. The principal of the elementary school reportedly told staff members that the two students had gone on websites and discussed conducting a school gun attack similar to the ones at Columbine High School and Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Bergen County: Two Sovereign Citizen Extremists Fight With Police Officers at Accident Scene
On March 31, two self-described sovereign citizens assaulted Rochelle Park police officers at the scene of a vehicle accident, illustrating the officer safety issue of the potential for encounters with these types of extremists at traffic incidents to escalate. Wayne Hall, age 37, of Hackensack, was involved in an accident, and when asked by police for his driver’s license, registration, and insurance information, he provided only a card stating that he had “The Right to Travel, The Right of Mode of Conveyance, The Right of Locomotion and the police cannot make void the exercise of rights.” A female associate of Hall’s, identified as Jameika Hutchison, age 34, of Hackensack, arrived on the scene. When police attempted to arrest Hall, both he and Hutchison began to strike the officers, and Hall was not handcuffed until he was pepper-sprayed. Both defendants were charged with assaulting police officers, obstruction of justice, and other offenses.