A 17-year-old Alabama high school student named Derek Shrout, who was arrested last week for allegedly plotting to kill six Black students by blowing them up with homemade grenades, has been released on $75,000 bond, reports the Ledger-Enquirer.
Shrout, allegedly known at Russell County High School as a self-proclaimed, White supremacist, was arrested last week after a teacher turned a misplaced notebook over to authorities where he had written that bombs were “a step or two away from being ready to explode,” said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.
“The first thing I wanted to know was if you did exactly what he wrote, would it blow up,” said Taylor. “And everybody that I’ve consulted with has said that it would absolutely blow up exactly the way he wrote it.”
Taylor also revealed that from all indications the explosion would have been serious.
“He has a lot of pent-up anger toward Blacks,” he said.
Bomb-making material, including tobacco cans and shrapnel, were discovered when police searched his home last Friday. Two large cans were labeled ‘Fat Boy’ and ‘Little Man,’ referencing the two atomic bombs that the United States used to decimate Hiroshima and Nagasaki during War World II.
After Shrout and his military family moved to the area, he joined the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), but soon became involved with a White power group.
“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,” JROTC 1st Sgt. David White said.
Classmate Jessica Watkins, who described Shrout as “quiet and sweet,” said that she was horrified when she sat in his desk Monday:
“It said, ‘white power’ with the F-word, and it was covered in Nazi symbols,” Watkins said. The teacher tried to scrub it off, she said, but couldn’t because it was in permanent marker.
Shrout often would holler “white power” and make a “W” sign with his fingers and hold it to his chest, Watkins said. “But I always thought he was joking around,” she said.
Watkins said Shrout's behavior was even more puzzling because, even though he said n*gger and other racial slurs, his best friend at school is Black.
Shrout's attorney, Jeremy Armstrong, who entered a "not guilty" plea for his client in response to one charge of first-degree attempted assault, said that everyone is over-reacting because of the tragedy that occurred last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when Adam Lanza, 20, walked into the school and murdered 26 people, including 20 children, before killing himself.
"Our position is that our client had no intention to harm anybody," said Armstrong.
Shrout also claims that the notebook, which he began writing 3 days after the massacre at Sandy Hook, was fictitious.
"When you go to his house and you start finding the actual devices that he talked about being made, no, it's not fiction anymore," Taylor said. "Those devices were – all they needed was the black powder and the fuse – he had put a lot of time and thought into that."
The teen also wrote about shooting students and faculty at the school. There were several weapons in his home, including his father's hunting rifle, shotgun and handgun.
"He just talks about some students, he specifically named six students and one faculty member and he talked about weapons and the amounts of ammunition for each weapon that he would use if he attacked the school," Taylor said.
As conditions of his release, set forth by Judge Albert Johnson, Shrout "must remain at home; wear a GPS locator bracelet on his ankle; refrain from initiating contact with anyone connected to the school; and be monitored by a parent while on the Internet," reports the Ledger-Enquirer.The judge scheduled his preliminary hearing for Feb. 12 at 9 a.m.