NORRISTOWN, Pa. – A troubled teenager accused of plotting a school attack built up a stash of weapons with the help of his mother, authorities said Friday.
Michele Cossey, 46, was arrested Friday on charges of illegally buying her home-schooled son, Dillon, a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope.
The parents were indulging the boy’s interests because he was unhappy, not knowingly aiding a school assault, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said. The parents didn’t know of the teen’s plans, but “by virtue of her indulgence, she enabled him to get in this position,” Castor said.
Authorities have said they do not believe an attack was imminent and are not even certain one would have occurred.
“This was a smart kid that clearly believes he was picked on and was a victim,” Castor said. “He had psychological issues and began to act out on those feelings.”
Dillon, 14, who was arrested Wednesday, felt bullied and tried to recruit another boy for a possible attack at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, authorities said. The teen previously attended middle school in the district but had been taught at home for more than a year after voluntarily leaving school.
Acting on a tip from a high school student and his father, police searched the boy’s bedroom and found the 9 mm rifle, about 30 air-powered guns modeled to look like higher-powered weapons, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks, Castor said.
Michele Cossey was charged with unlawful transfer of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of reckless endangerment, and later released on bail. She did not comment at the hearing. Her attorney, Tim Woodward, said, “I’m sure she loves her kid.”