A Russell County, Ala. self-described teenaged White supremacist is out of jail on $75,000 bail but confined to his family home on charges of first degree assault after local authorities foiled what they said was a planned massacre at a high school.

Seventeen-year-old Derek Shrout’s plans to detonate several smokeless tobacco cans filled with shrapenel were detailed in a notebook left in a Russell County High School classroom, according to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

“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,” the sheriff said at a local press conference. The teacher and five of the students are Black. The remaining targeted student is gay.

The journal was begun three days after a gunman shot and killed 27 people, 20 of them first-graders, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Authorities said the Newtown, Conn. massacre may have played a role in the alleged plot in Alabama.

But a defense attorney for the teen, Jeremy Armstrong, told CBS News affiliate {WRLB} that the details inside the journal were not a serious plot that would have been acted out in real life.

“I believe this was just a lot of talk from my client, but I think we’ll get more into that as the case goes on,” said Armstrong. “I believe he had no intentions, after talking to my client, of intending to hurt anyone,” Armstrong says. “I think this might have been blown a little bit out of proportion in light of what happened in Newtown, Conn. And of course everyone in our nation is on edge about that kind of thing.”

Still, authorities said they found more than 25 smokeless tobacco tins filled with shrapnel inside the Shrout home.

Shrout is a member of a family with an active duty military service member who had been stationed at nearby Ft. Benning, Ga.

The source of his bail was not disclosed.

Fellow students who knew him told WTVM that his behavior had noticeably changed in the past few weeks, especially his involvement with a group of teens who identified themselves with the white supremacist culture, and acted out neo-Nazi behaviors such as the Nazi salute.

“At first through JROTC, he was confident, well-rounded, but as time went by, he was doing the whole white power thing,” said Russell County High senior class president David Kelly, who said he was aquainted with Strout from their involvement in Junior ROTC.

“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.” 

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer