Spanish police thwart Columbine-like massacre at university

MADRID, SPAIN (BNO NEWS) -- Police in Spain believe they have thwarted a Columbine-like massacre after a 21-year-old university student was arrested in the eastern region of the country while in possession of 140 kilograms (308 pounds) of explosives, officials said on Thursday.

Juan Manuel M.S., 21, a university student at the Professional Development Institute, was arrested at around 10:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Mallorca Island, as he was receiving the explosives, which he had bought through the Internet.

According to Spain's Interior Ministry, Juan Manuel was planning to plant the explosives at the Illes Balears University, located in Spain's autonomous Baleares Islands. The arrest took place after a five-month investigation in which police stood watch outside the suspect's residence day and night.

The investigation had been launched after authorities became aware of several comments which had been made online regarding the Columbine massacre. The incident took place in April 1999 when 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold went on a killing spree at Columbine High School in Colorado, killing 12 students and one teacher before they committed suicide.

During the five-month span of the investigation, Juan Manuel had tried to buy illegal weapons on a number of occasions but failed to do so. He also tried to obtain a license in order to purchase firearms legally, but he was denied. Lastly, the suspect, who was making money through online betting games such as poker, decided to purchase the explosives online.

The ministry said Juan Manuel had developed a social hate character with strong statements of violence, as well as his intention to plant the explosives at Illes Balears University. The security operation which resulted in the arrest on Wednesday was carried out by Spain's National Police.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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