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Alabama student accused of plotting a terrorist attack against his school

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ALABAMA (CNN) -- An Alabama high school student is behind bars, accused of plotting and preparing for a terrorist attack against his school. A teacher at Russell County High School found Derek Shrout's journal after class on Friday. When she looked inside, she found something much different from the writings of a typical teenager.

Police say 17-year-old Derek Shrout is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who wanted to commit hate crimes at Russell County High School with homemade explosives.

Had his book of plans not been carelessly left where a teacher could find it, the sheriff says no one may have discovered the plot until it was too late.

"The journal contained several plans that looked like potential terrorist attacks, and attacks of violence and danger on the school.  In particular, there were six students specifically named, and one teacher,"

After the teacher who found his journal notified authorities, police searched his home and found dozens of tobacco containers filled with shrapnel and 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.

When Shrout was interrogated by authorities, his explanation to them was that he had written a work of fiction and he never meant to carry out the plans in real life.

The sheriff disagrees.

"It was obvious that he had put a lot of thought into this.  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.

Shrout is currently in the Russell County Jail, charged as an adult. He will be in court Monday, January 7th to face a felony charge of attempted assault.