Father Discovers His Daughter is Planning a School Shooting. Here’s What He Did About it

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Officials at the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office were notified on Thursday, March 23, 2017, of a potential threat directed at Catoctin High School. The call was made by the father of the student, 18-year-old Nicole Cevario, after discovering details in her diary revealed a planned attack, scheduled to take place on April 5.


Entries in Cevario’s diary, dating back to December 2016, contained information regarding the desired timeline, including various phases of the attack to take place at Catoctin High School in Thurmont, Maryland. Other information regarding school emergency procedures and emergency personnel response tactics was also found.

According to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department: “The [diary] was very detailed including a timeline that revealed how she was going to execute the plot and her expectations at each stage of the event.”

Along with the diary, various items discovered in Cevario’s home suggested active steps were being taken to facilitate the plan. This included a shotgun as well as materials to construct pipe bombs and potentially other explosives.


Since Cevario was legally an adult at the time the materials were purchased, all of the items were obtained legally. This includes the shotgun and ammunition, pipes and end caps, fireworks, fuses, and materials designed to act as shrapnel. While the materials were all gathered, Cevario had not constructed any explosives at the time the items were discovered.

The investigation currently suggests Cevario was acting alone in regards to the potential attack, and that no other individuals appear to have assisted in planning or were intended to participate in its execution. It also appeared that Cevario was the only person who knew of the plan prior to the materials being discovered by her father.


Investigators found that Cevario was struggling with mental health issues, prompting her admission to Frederick Memorial Hospital for an emergency evaluation. As reported on the Frederick County website, the investigators were confident regarding Cevario’s intent but were uncertain whether she would have had the will to execute the plan. Additionally, her intent to die on the date chosen for the attack was also considered clear.

After Cevario’s release from Frederick Memorial Hospital, she will be arrested based on a warrant that has already been obtained. The associated charges related to the possession of explosive material with intent to create a destructive device as well as possession of incendiary material with the same intent.


The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office expressed appreciation for the parent’s actions in averting a potentially deadly incident, as well as to the Frederick County Public School for their cooperation.