A Seale, Alabama teacher made a startling discovery this past week that may have saved the lives of students and teachers at Russell County High School.
A misplaced notebook left by self-proclaimed white supremacist Derek Shrout was found by a high school teacher that contained what police say were “credible” threats towards the school.
The police later discovered the beginnings of improvised explosives consisting of tobacco tin cans filled with pellets after searching the 17 year-old’s home. Two of the cans, reportedly had the words “Fat boy” and “Little Man” written on the side, perhaps referencing the code names for the two World War II atomic bombs that were released on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Russell County sheriffs say that if the teacher had not made this discovery and notified authorities, it may have been too late to stop the potential attack.
“The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks, and attacks of violence and danger on the school. And in particular, there were six students specifically named, and one teacher,” said Russell County sheriff, Heath Taylor, in a press conference. “These bombs are potential; they’re not complete… It could have been a day later, potentially.”
The 17-year old wrote in his police statements that his notebook was merely a work of fiction, and he was not planning to carry out the attacks. The police chief, however, disagrees with Shrout and said that a day later the teen could have carried out the potentially deadly school attack.
“It was obvious that he had put a lot of thought into this,” Taylor said. “It was obvious to us that there was more than just writing a story in a journal and it being fictitious.”
Shrout was arrested last Friday and is now being tried as an adult for a felony count of attempted assault. His bond was set today at $75,000 according to the Ledger-Enquirer.
According to WSFA, Shrout admitted to being a dedicated white supremacist and he may have also been a member of an organized Neo-Nazi group. Five of the six students that were named in his notebook were African-American.
“He has a lot of pent up anger towards blacks,” added the police chief.
WTVM interviewed fellow classmates who felt that the suspect’s behavior was different prior to his arrest.
“He was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing,” said senior class president, David Kelly, in an interview with WTVM. “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.”
Kelly also mentioned that Shrout would frequently give Nazi salutes to people at school.
The suspect’s terror plot discovery comes three weeks after the deadly Sandy Hook elementary shooting that left twenty children and seven adults dead. Officials say some of entries that included information about the purported plot were written only three days after the Newtown tragedy.
“The system worked and thank God, it did. We avoided a very bad situation,” Taylor concluded.
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