A 17-year-old student in Alabama was arrested last week for allegedly plotting to use dozens of homemade grenades to kill at least fellow six students and a teacher at Russell County High School.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor on Sunday said that Derek Shrout had been arrested after a teacher turned over a journal which indicated that his homemade grenades were just “a step or two away from being ready to explode,” according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
A Friday search of Shrout’s home turned up bomb-making materials, including dozens of tobacco cans and two large cans filled with pellets to be used as shrapnel. The two large cans were labeled “Fat Boy” and “Little Man,” a reference to the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Japan during World War II.
Reports indicated that the 17-year-old student, who was part of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), had gotten mixed up with a white supremacist group after moving from Kansas to Fort Benning with his military family.
“At first through JROTC, he was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing,” senior class president David Kelly told WTVM.
JROTC 1st Sgt. David White recalled that Shrout was often seen giving Nazi salutes while at school.
“In the hallway, at breakfast, at the lunch tables, after school where we have our bus parking lot, he’d have his big old group of friends and they’d go around doing the whole white power crazy stuff,” White said.
“Why would you want to go to a school and blow it up? You know you’re going to hit somebody else; you’re not just going to, in particular, hit one person. You’re going to injure more than one.”
ABC News reported on Monday that Shrout’s targets included five African-American students, one student who he believed was gay and one African-American teacher. Police believed that he learned to make explosives by searching the Internet.
For his part, Shrout told police that his journal was simply a work of fiction. He is being held in the Russell County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday on charges of attempted assault.