17-year-old accused in bomb plot granted $75K bond
By Sara Belsole
RUSSELL COUNTY, AL – 17-year-old Derek Shrout was hand cuffed and shackled as he was led into a Russell County court room Monday morning.
Shrout is charged with felony attempted assault in connection to an alleged plot to plant bombs inside Russell County High School.
He pleaded not guilty and was given a $75,000 bond. His attorney, Jeremy Armstrong, says Shrout's family plans to make the bond Monday.
“After talking to my client I believe he had no intentions to hurt anyone. I think it was blown a little out of proportion after what happened in Newtown, Connecticut,” Armstrong says.
Once released from jail, Shrout will be on house arrest and have to wear an ankle monitor. He also cannot surf the Internet without parental supervision.
“He can't surf the Internet dealing with any type of explosive materials, anything of that nature,” Armstrong says.
Officials say bomb dogs were brought into Russell County High School Monday morning as a precaution.
The investigation into Shrout began late Friday afternoon. Authorities say he allegedly planned to set dozens of bombs off inside the school.
Officials say Shrout's alleged plan was foiled when he accidentally left a notebook outlining his plan in one of his classes at school. The teacher who found the notebook immediately alerted authorities.
“She realized there was some racial material and terroristic type comments and pictures,” Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor says.
Officials say when they brought Shrout in for questioning, he initially told them the notebook was a “fictitious story,” but when the Russell County Sheriff's Office searched Shrout's home, they believed otherwise.
“We found some homemade explosives and to us, that crossed the line,” Taylor says.
Officials say they found 25 tobacco canisters and two larger tins filled with pellets. Sheriff Taylor says with the addition of black powder and a fuse, they could be deadly.
“This kid had intentions. He was one embarrassing moment away at school to bringing them,” Taylor says.
Officials say Shrout named specific targets in his journal: five black students, one black teacher and one student he apparently thought was gay.
“He claimed to be on his own accord a white supremacist,” Taylor says.
Shrout will return to court on February 12th for a preliminary hearing.
One Russell County High School teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, says Shrout was quiet and kept to himself in class.
The Russell County Sheriff's Office says there have been no red flags reported to law enforcement prior to this incident.