Prosecutor: Mom bought assault rifle for 14-year-old son

May 10, 2003
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Source: CNN
The mother of a 14-year-old boy accused of planning a “Columbine-type” event at a high school was arrested Friday morning, prosecutors said.

Michele Cossey, 46, of Plymouth Meeting was charged with six criminal counts in connection with buying her son firearms and bomb-making equipment, including a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9mm semiautomatic rifle.

The charges are unlawful transfer of a fiream, possession of a firearm by a minor, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of reckless endangerment.

A search of the boy’s home Wednesday outside Philadelphia turned up the rifle, about 30 air-powered guns, swords, knives, a bomb-making book and videos of the 1999 Columbine High School attack.

Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr. said the weapons were plainly visible in the boy’s bedroom.

During a hearing Friday in juvenile court, a judge ruled authorities could continue to hold the teen during their investigation.

The judge also ordered psychiatric and educational achievement evaluations for the youth, who was taken into custody Wednesday night.

The teen was charged as a juvenile with solicitation to commit terror and other counts and was being held at a youth facility.

As Cossey sat sobbing in the courtroom before the hearing, Castor walked over to her and informed her that he had a warrant for her arrest. He told her to go after the hearing to his office on a lower floor of the courthouse, where the warrant was served.

Cossey is not alleged to have helped plot any attack, Castor said Thursday night.

“I don’t see any evidence that leads me to conclude that she knew that this attack was planned or anything of that nature,” Castor told CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360.”

But he said he thinks charges against her are justified.

“I think you have a parent who has fallen down on the job in supervising the child, perhaps indulgent on the child because she knows he has issues,” he said before her arrest.

Police also found seven hand grenades, four of them operational, said Joe Lawrence, deputy chief of the Plymouth Township police. The teenager said the two .22-caliber weapons were stored at a friend’s house.

If the teen is found delinquent, he could face long-term detention and counseling. The boy’s father also could face criminal charges pending an investigation, police said.

In addition to the weapons, authorities found a hand-painted Nazi flag and videos about the Columbine shootings, Castor said. Watch Castor explain why he is upset with the parents »

“It is my judgment that this individual considered that something to be glorified and was doing so,” he said.

Two students opened fire at Columbine in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20, 1999. They killed 13 people and wounded 23 others before killing themselves.

School officials said police acted on a tip from a Plymouth Whitemarsh High School student and his father. They said they believe the tip was prompted by Wednesday’s shooting at a school in Cleveland, Ohio, in which a 14-year-old killed himself after wounding two teachers and two other students.

In the Pennsylvania case, police say they received the tip at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and took the youth into custody at his home around 10. He was “nonchalant” when arrested, Lawrence said.

The grenades were made with plastic casings that authorities believe the boy bought on the Internet, Lawrence said. The operational hand grenades included black powder, BBs and a fuse believed used in fireworks. The boy was making the grenades in his bedroom, Lawrence said.

Police also found 30 weapons that fire BBs and the 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a magazine that could hold 30 rounds of ammunition.

Castor said officials do not think others were involved.

“We have no information at this point that leads us to think this is other than an isolated individual who was trying to recruit others to help,” he said.

“The boy who gave the tip was one who was trying to be recruited,” he added. “He was a friend of the boy in the loosest terms.”

Plymouth Whitemarsh High officials said the boy is not a student at the school.

“This was a youth in the community who has not been enrolled in school since spring of 2006,” said Dave Sherman, spokesman for the school.

The public high school in Plymouth Meeting has 1,591 students in grades nine through 12. Classes were canceled because of the incident, school officials said Thursday.

Plymouth Township is about 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

" Sure little billy il buy you any weapon you'd like"
If I had kids, they wouldn't go to school,I'd rather them be stupid, than dead.
She could have at least made up a fake story about how he likes to go hunting or some ****. Parents just aren't trying anymore.
Throw the whole family in jail for the foreseeable future, the kid is a sick f**k and the mother and father are too dumb to be a part of society if they pass by little Billy's room full of guns and don't realize something's wrong.

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