Suicidal Student Triggers Terrorism Scare

College student planned to kill himself in subway tunnel

By Jonathan Dienst and Alice McQuillan
|  Friday, Apr 30, 2010  |  Updated 4:18 PM EDT
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Suicidal Student Triggers Terrorism Scare

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NEW YORK - APRIL 12: A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) worker walks in an underground tunnel for the long-proposed 2nd Avenue subway line April 12, 2007 in New York City. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the line, one of numerous since the project was first proposed 80 years ago. The first phase of the line is scheduled to be completed in 2013, running from 96th Street to 63rd Street at a cost of $3.8 billion. Upon completion, line would add 8.5 miles of tracks and carry five million riders on weekdays in four of New York City's five boroughs. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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A college student planning to kill himself inside a Lower Manhattan subway tunnel provoked a short-lived terrorism scare early Friday morning, police said.

Aaron Fetto, 20, of Manhattan, was carrying pellets of sodium cynanide, a toxic jewelry cleaner, when transit workers on a work train spotted him walking in a tunnel under the East River about 5:30 a.m.

At first they mistook Fetto for a track worker and brought him on board because he was wearing a hard hat, reflective safety vest and knee-high yellow boots. However, they quickly turned him over to police at the Bowling Green station.

Emergency service unit police scoured nearby tracks and tunnels looking for suspicious materials but found none and determined that Fetto was not a terrorist.

Fetto, of John Street, told police that he was depressed and had been searching underground for an isolated alcove in the tunnel where his body would remain hidden after he had swallowed the sodium cyanide.  He was carrying a quart container of sodium cyanide pellets, two bottles of water and five highways flares in his backpack.

While not explosive, sodium cyanide is highly toxic and fatal if swallowed.  It's normally used to clean jewelry.
 

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