PHENIX CITY, Ala. — Derek Shrout, a 17-year-old self-proclaimed white-supremacist, was released on a $75,000 bond Monday evening after being arrested Friday for planning to kill six students and a teacher in a bomb plot. Five of the intended victims were African-American, while one was gay.
Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said that the plot was uncovered after a Russell County High School faculty member found a journal in her classroom detailing Shrout’s plans to terrorize his school.
Taylor told local media outlets that his office fully intends to pursue hate crime charges against Shrout.
“That’s the reason the white male was on the list — (Shrout believed the intended victim was gay) it screams hate crime,” he said.
Shrout moved to Alabama from Kansas a year ago with his military family now stationed at nearby Fort Benning, across the state line in Georgia. The Russell County sheriff said Shrout was active in school and on the same day he was charged with planning a racially motivated attack on students, he was in the guidance counselor’s office discussing his transfer credits.
But classmates said they noticed a change in the suspect’s behavior in the weeks leading up to his arrest, reported WTVM-TV.
“At first through JROTC, he was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing,” said senior class president, David Kelly.
Kelly was also Shrout’s battalion commander in the school’s JROTC program. His friends said with the way he was acting around the school, they’re not surprised he got himself into trouble.
“I saw that he was taking it more serious than anything, he started getting real deep into it, and he had a little group of people doing it with him. So, I thought it was getting to where I shouldn’t be around it, so I started not even hanging out with him for a long time,” said JROTC 1st Sgt. David White
Kelly explained that Shrout would frequently give Nazi salutes at school. He said, “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.”
Sheriff’s deputies found over 25 tobacco tins in Shrout’s house, and said he was in the process of converting into grenades. Authorities believe he was becoming involved with an organized neo-Nazi group and he learned how to make explosives through internet research.
Shrout was arraigned Monday on felony charges of attempted assault. A district court judge set bond at $75,000 with release conditions. The Sheriff’s office confirmed that Shrout posted bail Monday evening.
Judge Albert Johnson set the following conditions for Shrout: He 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.
Johnson scheduled Shrout’s preliminary hearing for Feb. 12 at 9 a.m.