Alabama police say they have averted an attack on a high school by a student aligned with the white supremacist movement.
Russell County High School student Derek Shrout, 17, appeared in court Monday after officials said they'd found bomb-making materials at his house Friday.
Officials said a teacher had come across his journal at school and found plans for an attack. Six students and one teacher were named in the journal; five of the students were black.
The senior class president, David Kelly, told WTVM-TV that Shrout was in the junior ROTC program and "was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing."
Kelly told WTVM-TV that Shrout would do Nazi salutes 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."
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor told the Associated Press that the first entry in Shrout's journal detailing an attack came three days after the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., which led him to believe that Shrout may have been inspired by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
When confronted by investigators, Shrout said the journal was a work of fiction.
At his home, police said they discovered Copenhagen tobacco tins filled with potential shrapnel and holes drilled for fuses. They did not discover incendiary materials.
Taylor told WTVM-TV that "these bombs are potential; they're not complete. So we don't want to indicate that he was ready to do something. It could have been a day later, potentially."
On Monday, Shrout's attorney, Jeremy Armstrong, said the arrest was an overreaction after the Newtown attack, according to the Columbus, Ga., Ledger-Enquirer.
Shrout, facing a felony charge of attempted assault, was expected to be placed under house arrest after posting $75,000 bond, the paper reported.