A friend of the teen accused of plotting an attack at Freedom High School said he brought up the Columbine massacre in casual conversation, though it was in a way that didn't raise any red flags at the time.
Nicolette French, 17, said she and 17-year-old Jared Cano have been friends on and off since they met in the 7th grade.
French described him as "kind of off," but said she never thought he would be accused of plotting to bomb a school.
"I didn’t think he would ever do anything to the extent of this, but he's always been kind of off, like he hasn’t been completely there, I guess you could say," French said.
LINK: Teen charged in Freedom High bomb plot
She said the Columbine massacre came up when Cano said he heard something similar had happened at a Bay Area school.
"We were having a conversation and randomly he started talking about, saying it was on the news that there was another Columbine thing going on at Tampa Bay Tech, or one of those other schools," French explained.
She says she now wonders if he may have been dropping hints.
"I didn’t really watch the news so I was just going on what he said …but I guess he was trying to put that idea, maybe throwing it out there for me to catch on to, but I didn’t really realize it until today," French said.
French said there had been a rough patch in their friendship just within the past couple of weeks.
"When I told him I couldn’t be with him, he was unstable about it and wrote me off and told me that he couldn’t talk to me anymore, or be my friend, and two days later he would apologize to me and say that he wanted to be my friend again. And then he did the same thing to me again just a couple of days later and then he said the same thing and apologized. And this was two days ago," she explained.
LINK: Jared Cano's apparent Facebook page
French described Cano as quiet, and someone who feels things more strongly than other teens.
He had been in enough trouble that law enforcement was keeping an eye on him.
"Mr. Cano had indeed been on our juvenile checklist in '08 and' 09. He had been arrested recently for a burglary in which a firearm was stolen, and he has some other charges such a [breaking and entering] of autos, and possession of marijuana," explained Major John Newman with the Tampa Police Department.
Cano was expelled from Freedom High school after that charge. He had started high school at Freedom as a freshman. Principal Chris Farkas said Cano blended in.
"He was not involved at anything that jumps out at me. Not an athlete or anything like that, involved those academic clubs," Farkas explained.
Farkas said he saw no warning signs, no red flags that Cano was plotting an attack.
Cano is facing a variety of felony bomb and drug charges. The chief said his family was being cooperative with the investigation and there was no reason to believe that any of them knew about the plot.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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