Home-Schooled Teen Had Weapons, Talked Of School Attack

Friday, October 12th 2007, 7:34 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Authorities took a 14-year-old home-schooled student into custody, saying they found a cache of guns, knives and explosive devices in his bedroom for a possible Columbine-type attack at a high school.

The teenager, who lives in a Philadelphia suburb, felt bullied and tried to recruit another boy for the possible attack at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, authorities said Thursday.

The weapons found during the search Wednesday night included a 9 mm assault rifle that the teenager's mother had recently bought for him, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said. Prosecutors are reviewing her actions.

``I do not think an attack was imminent and I am not certain that an attack was going to occur at all,'' Castor said at a news conference. ``It could have simply been big talking by a kid who thought that he was bullied previously and he was going to exact his revenge.''

The teen was charged as a juvenile with solicitation to commit terror and other counts and was being held at a youth facility. He was due in court for an initial appearance Friday morning.

A call to the county Public Defender's Office, which was representing the youth, rang unanswered after business hours.

Police also found about 30 air-powered guns, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks, Castor said. The weapons were plainly visible in the boy's bedroom, he said.

Also discovered were seven explosive devices Castor described as homemade grenades: plastic containers filled with BBs to which gunpowder could be added. Authorities said one grenade was operable and the others had been in the process of being assembled.

The search did not turn up any ammunition for the most dangerous firearm in the bunch, the assault rifle.

The teen previously attended middle school in the district but had been taught at home for more than a year after voluntarily leaving school, Castor said.

Plymouth Township police searched the home after getting a tip Wednesday from a high school student and his father.

The arrest came the same day a 14-year-old in Ohio opened fire at his Cleveland high school, wounding four before killing himself.

Classes were held as usual Thursday at the Pennsylvania high school.