Police on Wednesday said they had prevented an attack on a Tampa high school after arresting an expelled student and discovering materials at his home to make pipe bombs.
"We were probably able to thwart a potentially catastrophic event the likes of which the city of Tampa has not seen," Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor told a news conference.
Police named the suspect, who was detained and charged on Tuesday, as 17-year-old Jared Cano and said his target was Freedom High School.
Castor said Cano, who was expelled from the school in 2010, had hoped "to cause more casualties than were suffered at Columbine" — a reference to the 1999 massacre at a Colorado high school by two students who killed 12 peers and a teacher.
Acting on a tip from an informant Tuesday morning, police learned that Cano had been planning his attack to take place on the first day of class next Tuesday, Castor said. Two faculty members were specifically targeted, she added.
Evidence found in a search of Canl's home included a "manifesto" with drawings of school rooms and statements apparently indicating his intention to carry out a deadly attack, authorities said.
Police also found timing and fusing devices, and other material that could have been used to make a bomb such as fuel sources, shrapnel and plastic tubing, Castor said.
Among favorite quotations listed by Cano on his Facebook page is: "Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten."