RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A student in southeast Alabama is accused of plotting and preparing for a terrorist attack against his school.
Derek Shrout is being held in the Russell County Jail, charged with attempted assault. He is expected to be in court Monday.
Authorities say a teacher at Russell County High School found Shrout’s journal after class on Friday. When she looked inside, she saw plans that outlined a plot to kill certain students.
“The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks, and attacks of violence and danger on the school,” said Sheriff Heath Taylor. “And in particular, there were six students specifically named, and one teacher.”
Authorities say Shrout is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who wanted to commit hate crimes at Russell County High School with homemade explosives.
After the teacher found his journal and notified authorities, they searched his home and found dozens of tobacco containers filled with shrapnel. They also had holes drilled for fuses.
Investigators say Shrout was a step away from turning them into live grenades.
Police say they don’t believe his parents had any idea this was happening. The family lives in Fort Mitchell, Alabama.
Police interrogated Shrout, and he said the journal was a work of fiction, and he never meant to carry out the plans in real life.
Sheriff Taylor disagrees.
“It was obvious that he had put a lot of thought into this,” said Taylor. “It was obvious to us that there was more than just writing a story in a journal and it being fictitious.”
Officials say the earliest entries in the journal were written three days after the massacre in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. They believe Shrout learned to make the explosives through Internet research.