PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. – It wasn’t a typical 14-year-old’s bedroom. There were three homemade grenades packed with blackpowder and BBs. There were 30 air-powered guns, modeled to look like real weapons. And there was a genuine 9mm rifle.

Their owner was alleged to be a troubled teen, who had been bullied so badly by other students that he had been home schooled for the past 18 months, officials said.

“He may have believed that the world would be a better place without the bullies in it,” Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said Thursday after the teenager was taken into custody and accused of planning a “Columbine-type” assault on Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School.

Castor credited police and an “informant” – a second student who the teenager tried to recruit – for averting a potential disaster.

The teenager had no bullets for the weapon, and Castor said there was no evidence an attack was imminent, but fear gripped the high school after parents and students learned of the aborted plot between 9:45 a.m. Thursday, when the school sent out 4,700 automated messages, and 10:45 a.m., when teachers made an announcement.

Although the school message emphasized that students were not in danger, many parents were not convinced. Within minutes the campus – already flooded with police – became even more congested as parents arrived to pick up children.

“It’s pandemonium,” said Maureen Bickings, the mother of Jamie Bickings, 15, and a resident of Plymouth Meeting. “They can’t assure us he worked alone … (but) I think my daughter is safer at home.”

Castor said it was the 14-year-old’s attempt to recruit assistance that led to his apprehension on Wednesday night. The boy he contacted informed his parents, who then alerted police. “They’re to be commended,” said Castor.

Plymouth Township Police Chief Carmen D. Pettine said the incident was particularly disturbing “after what happened in Ohio,” where on Wednesday a 14-year-old in Cleveland shot four people at a high school there, and then killed himself.

Officials from the Colonial School District declined to discuss their decision to keep the school open, or what security will be in place today.

David Sherman, the district’s community relations coordinator, referred questions to Castor, who said security would be stepped up.

Citing privacy laws, Castor declined to name the local juvenile or his family, though many students and neighbors believe they know the teenager’s identity. Castor said he expected to make a decision within the next couple of days on whether to charge the teen as an adult.

Castor also is considering whether to file charges against the boy’s parents.

Castor said the mother legally purchased the rifle at a gun show, but then gave it to the teenager, which is a potential violation of state law. He noted that the other items seized from the boy’s room were in plain sight. “There is no way that one or both parents doesn’t know this,” Castor said.

The other items included 30 knives and other edged weapons, and the host of BB guns, designed to resemble genuine assault rifles and automatic weapons.

Police also seized DVDs of the Columbine shooting, notebooks detailing acts of violence, a handpainted Nazi flag, and books such as the “Anarchist Cookbook” and a U.S. Army counter-insurgency operation handbook.

Castor said the youth, whose possessions suggested “a disturbed mind,” had attended Plymouth schools until his parents started home-schooling him because he was being bullied by other students.

In front of the alarming display of BB guns and knives presented to the media, Castor added that it was difficult to ascertain exactly what acts the teenager might have been willing to undertake.

It could have simply been “big-talking by a student who thought he was bullied previously,” Castor said.

On his MySpace site, the student listed his favorite weapons, deeming the AK-47 his top choice. The site is replete with references to Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and says one of his interests is the Columbine massacre.

He wants to meet chicks or “followers willing to be my soldiers.” His motto: “Mess with the best, Die like the rest.”

“I am pretymuch the posterboy for the person that rests upon the line between Geineus and Madman/Pycopath(sic),” he wrote. The teenager last logged on in early September.

No one answered the door at the teenager’s Plymouth Meeting ranch-style home, where a collection of wind chimes lining the front porch blew in the breeze along with an American flag and a Philadelphia Eagles banner. An earlier visitor had left a bouquet of fresh flowers and an envelope.

Beverly Ingram, who lives a couple of doors away, said her grandchildren used to love to play with the teenager five or six years ago.

“He had a menagerie: rabbits, ducks, a dog,” she said. “He had everything; his parents got him whatever he wanted.”

Ingram, who said she hadn’t interacted with the youth in a couple of years, but said she had “thought he was the nicest kid,” she said. “I’m totally amazed.”

Another couple, who declined to be named, said they often saw the boy shooting BB guns in the back yard.

Across the street, neighbor Eric Olsen kept shaking his head, chilled by the close proximity of the weapons to his 7-month-old daughter.

“To me, he seemed like a normal kid,” Olsen said. “I feel for the parents; I hope he gets the help he needs.”

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