Police in Spain 'foil Columbine-style massacre' at university on Mallorca

21-year-old held with explosives planned to plant pipe bombs on campus, diary reveals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 4:24am

Spanish police said yesterday they had arrested a 21-year-old as he received 140kg of explosives and chemicals that he intended to use in a Columbine-style massacre of students.

The suspect was arrested in the tourist haven of Palma de Mallorca, and his hate-filled diary and other papers revealed plans to attack the University of the Balearic Islands, they said.

Identified only by the initials J.M.M.S, he was detained on Wednesday as he received more than 140kg of explosives and other chemicals that he had bought online, police said.

"In his personal diary and other documents seized at his home, the detainee showed his hatred of society, especially university students, and his decision to strategically place shrapnel-filled pipe bombs in the university grounds, admitting to a possible suicide in the carrying out of the massacre," according to a statement released by police.

Police launched their investigation five months ago after the suspect's blog showed sympathy for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the heavily armed teenagers who went on a bloody rampage through the halls of Columbine High School in Colorado on April 20, 1999, shooting dead 12 students and a teacher.

"In his blog, he included sections in which he spoke about having identical tastes in music, a liking of weapons, clothing [to Harris and Klebold] and even the social isolation which led him to be marginalised in school," the statement said.

During the investigation, police said, the suspect tried illegally to buy various arms. When he failed to obtain the weapons, he applied for a gun permit but was rejected.

"His final goal was to get a large quantity of explosive and chemical substances since, as he explained in his own blog, he knew how to make various types of explosive," police said.

Police seized more than 140kg of explosives and chemicals including 125kg of ammonium nitrate, which has explosive properties, the statement said.

They also seized 12kg of potassium nitrate crystals, 500 grams of sodium sulphide hydrate, a litre of nitric acid, another litre of sulphuric acid and a 500-millilitre chemistry flask.

The young man had obtained tools to build pipe bombs, and to force locks and steal arms from places he was watching because he had no other way to get weapons, police said, citing the diary.

"In this diary, J.M also wrote his plan to plant bombs in the University of the Balearic Islands and carry out an act similar in repercussion to that of his Columbine heroes, including contemplating suicide," they said.