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Deputies say 16-year-old boy plotted Columbine-like attack at Seminole High

SEMINOLE — Pinellas deputies have arrested a 16-year-old boy on a charge that he tried to solicit another student to help him carry out a Columbine-like assault at Seminole High School.

Nathaniel Zeno of Seminole was arrested Wednesday on a charge of solicitation to commit murder and was booked into the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center.

Zeno, a sophomore at the school, was studying a book on the Columbine massacre and "was in the process of obtaining maps of the school (and) a list of preferred firearms," according to a news release from Pinellas sheriff's officials. He had not obtained any guns, deputies said.

Zeno solicited another student to help him with the attack, saying he "was targeting people that had a history of being cruel or neglectful to animals," the news release states. The other student notified authorities.

"This was just a plan that he was putting together. It was in the beginning stages," said Sgt. Tom Nestor, a Sheriff's Office spokesman.

"What he was intending on doing was all written down. At no time was there any threat to the students."

Deputies learned of the plan and started an investigation. On March 4, Zeno was taken to a mental health facility under the Baker Act — which allows authorities to detain anyone they consider a harm to themselves or the public — based on statements he made.

Deputies continued their investigation and uncovered more details about the plot. The new details provided enough probable cause to arrest Zeno after he was released from the facility Wednesday, sheriff's officials said.

Zeno's family members could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Deputies say 16-year-old boy plotted Columbine-like attack at Seminole High 03/10/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2011 12:01am]
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