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"He was trying to talk tough," says would-be shooter's grandma

1:28 AM, Dec 6, 2012   |    comments
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Jared Cano reacts to getting 15 years for planning to stage a Columbine-like attack on Freedom High School
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Tampa, Florida - It's hard time for a New Tampa teenager who plotted and planned to kill his classmates by blowing up Freedom High School.

Jared Cano was both cocky and chilling when he recorded four cell phone videos, giving a detailed description of his plans for mass murder.

In the video, Cano said, "Hello, retards. I'm the Freedom High shooter, or I will be in a few months. Did I choose to be this way? No. You should just round up people like us and shoot us."

Cano gave specifics and showed spots where he was going to place bombs on campus. He pointed them out on a piece of rumpled notebook paper in the cell phone video. He said, "Point A, Point B, Point C, and Point D. I have to get out by 7:24. The bombs will blow at 7:26."

Cano even went so far as to name certain people he wanted to kill. In one case, he said, "I won't kill him. I like him."

The controversial case began more than a year ago in August 2011 when Tampa cops got a tip and discovered Cano's manifesto, maps, and materials for a bomb. When the cell phone videos were released, those who watched it were horrified by what they saw. Today, the school resource officer said in court "people were terrified."

The 18-year-old showed shock and dismay when he learned of his fate Wednesday afternoon in a Hillsborough County court.  Cano was sentenced as an adult to 15 years in prison with 10 years probation.

Cano's grandmother, Judy Butler, tried to explain her grandson's actions to the judge. "He was trying to talk tough to cover up his anxieties and insecurities. He would never hurt anyone. He is a scared little boy," she said.

Cano's sister, Alexandria, began sobbing when she heard the verdict and was escorted from the courtroom by bailiffs. Earlier, she told the judge, "That's not my brother on those tapes. That's not him. He's a loving person."

A rabbi also spoke on Cano's behalf, along with a psychologist who said that the teen was not truly serious about the threats he made. He said about 90 percent of threats are "a hoax."

Cano himself told the judge, "Let me make an example. I had a bad life. Let me change it around and do something good, not bad. Don't make me the poster child for something evil. Let me be the poster child for something good. Let me do right. Give me a chance to do something right. To make my family proud. I don't want all these people to think I'm crazy, trying to kill everybody. I want people to look at me as someone who was wrong."

The state didn't buy it. "His intent was worse than Virginia Tech, worse than Columbine. THAT was his intent."

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