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Teen accused of Freedom High bomb plot set off explosives and made hit list, informant says

TAMPA — The informer had seen Jared Cano make acid bombs, watched him build them using Drano and aluminum foil and detonate them in the woods behind his apartment, court records state.

That's what the informer said when calling to report that Cano, 17, was planning a mass killing at Freedom High School.

Police have not released additional information since they arrested Cano last month, but search warrant affidavits filed in court Friday detail the informer's statements and paint a fuller picture of what police found when they searched Cano's New Tampa apartment on Aug. 16.

It all started with a call to police.

The informer — who has still not been named — said Cano was talking about bombing Freedom and saying he wanted to "go out" like a legend, causing more casualties than either Columbine High School or Virginia Tech, the affidavits state.

Cano had said he was going to get an AK-47 assault rifle and had just perfected a timer to detonate the bombs, the informant said. He had selected two people to target, the affidavits state.

The informer showed a detective Cano's Facebook page. One picture showed Cano posing with a machete. According to the affidavits, the informer told the detective Cano had said he would use a machete to "chop up" a specific person. The detective needed more, so he asked the informer to call Cano while he listened to their conversation. During the call, Cano said he wanted to blow up the school and had a plan in mind, the affidavits state.

That backed up the informer's statements, the detective reported, so police went to Cano's home in the Cypress Run at Tampa Palms apartments. They told Cano's mother, Michelle Cano, of the situation. She gave them permission to search her apartment and took them to her son's bedroom.

Police found a marijuana plant, a journal that contained "an organized plan to carry out the attack," a hand-drawn diagram of the school and hand-drawn pictures with red on them "to symbolize blood/death," according to the affidavits.

They also found bombmaking materials, including a timer.

Police arrested Cano on charges of possessing bomb-making materials; threatening to throw, project, place or discharge a destructive device; cultivating marijuana; and possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He will be tried as an adult.

At the house, Michelle Cano let detectives search her son's cell phone and a computer that he used, the affidavits state.

Investigators found videos on the phone that show Jared Cano holding the journal and explaining his plan. They also found a picture of the Columbine attack.

On the computer, police found multiple searches for school shootings, bombings and bomb-making materials, they reported.

Police think Jared Cano had saved a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook, a book that teaches bombmaking. And they found a downloaded video game based upon the Columbine attack, which happened April 20, 1999 — or 4/20. The detective noted the teen's e-mail address:

Times staff writer Dan Sullivan contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or

Teen accused of Freedom High bomb plot set off explosives and made hit list, informant says 09/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 2, 2011 11:18pm]
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