In one case, police said Jared Cano confronted them with a metal baseball bat when they came to his family’s apartment two years ago looking for a stolen pistol, which they found in his bedroom. He was 15 at the time.
Yet it appears that this week’s bomb plot went beyond angry teenage bluster: Detectives said Cano had amassed shrapnel, plastic tubing, timing and fuse devices for pipe bombs. Police say the plot was intended to take more lives than the Columbine High School massacre, where 13 were killed before the two student attackers killed themselves.
Police reports on Cano reveal a string of run-ins with the law, although none of the juvenile charges _ from burglary to firearm possession _ ended in a conviction.
Cano had been expelled from Freedom High School in Tampa in 2010. Reports said that he was being homeschooled at the time of his arrest this week, and that his mother is a Hillsborough County schoolteacher. He once told an officer that he had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. His parents were divorced, and his father told a local newspaper that he had not seen his son for several years.
On Tuesday, Tampa police were tipped off that Cano was plotting to bomb the school that had kicked him out a year earlier. Police, who periodically checked on the teen because of his troubled past, thought the information was plausible enough that they knocked on his apartment door and his mother let them search the place.
Police and the school system “were probably able to thwart a potentially catastrophic event, the likes of which the city of Tampa has not seen, and hopefully never will,” Police Chief Jane Castor said.
Before Tuesday’s discovery, Cano had been arrested several times, most recently accused of breaking into a house and stealing a handgun in March of 2010, Tampa police said. He had a court-ordered curfew and was on a police watch list.
“We’ve been very, very familiar with him,” police Maj. John Newman said.
According to the police report, Cano stole a 20-year-old gun in March of 2010. The gun’s owner _ who was the grandfather of Cano’s friend _ said the weapon had three rounds in the clip.
In Jan. 2010, Cano was considered a suspect when a neighbor’s screened porch was broken into. Nothing was stolen and no charges were filed.
In 2008, police caught him with a stun gun, and in 2007, when he was 13, he was arrested for stealing CDs out of a car.
Besides the bomb-making materials, officers said they also found a journal with schematic drawings of rooms inside Freedom High School and statements about Cano’s intent to kill specific administrators and any students who happened to be nearby on Aug. 23. The plan was mapped out, minute-by-minute, Castor said.
His juvenile arrests included burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, altering serial numbers on a firearm and drug possession. They all had been either dismissed or no action had been taken, beyond putting his name on the police watch list.
He also had a marijuana-growing operation, police said. On his Facebook page, he says he attends the “University of Marijuana,” where he is studying “how to grow weed.”
Cano was arrested Tuesday night and faces charges of possessing bomb-making materials, cultivating marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possessing marijuana and threatening to throw, project, place or discharge a destructive device. He was being held in a juvenile lockup in Tampa. The state attorney’s office will decide whether he will be charged as an adult.
Associated Press writers Christine Armario and Kelli Kennedy contributed to this report from Miami.