St. Petersburg man accused of Thanksgiving New York mass shooting threat

Robert Jacob Trout III faces a federal charge for Instagram post that threatened to “cause havoc on the subway.”
Robert Jacob Trout III is accused of making an Instagram post that threatened a mass shooting in New York City.
Robert Jacob Trout III is accused of making an Instagram post that threatened a mass shooting in New York City. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Dec. 9, 2023|Updated Dec. 9, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG — The video was posted to Instagram three days before Thanksgiving.

In it, a man displayed two guns with extended magazines, and panned in close to a set of .40-caliber ammunition, according to court records. He laughed as he voiced plans to visit New York City on Thanksgiving and “cause havoc on the subway.”

“I’m gonna shoot anybody I see on that ... train,” he said. “I’m just gonna walk on that train and start ... unloading.”

That didn’t happen. Instead on Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving, St. Petersburg police arrested Robert Jacob Trout III.

On Nov. 23, FBI agents filed a federal criminal complaint against Trout, accusing him of knowingly transmitting a threat to kill or injure another person.

The St. Petersburg man was again arrested Thursday as the case against him graduated from state to federal court.

He said in the video he aimed to kill as many as 60 people, according to the complaint.

“If you’re from New York City, do not take the train on Thursday evening, bro,” he said, the document states.

FBI agents in Miami became aware of the video two days after it was posted, the complaint states. They examined the Instagram account and the associated internet protocol address and determined the account likely belonged to Trout.

Elsewhere on the Instagram page were videos and photos that promoted Trout’s participation in mixed martial arts, and referenced gyms, events and locations he frequented, the complaint stated.

As of late this week, the Instagram page appeared to be taken down.

Trout, 19, is from New York, court records state. His family members told police that he intended to move back there.

He appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sean P. Flynn, who ordered him to be detained while he awaits trial.

The judge noted several factors in concluding that Trout should remain jailed, including the weight of the evidence against him and a history of alcohol and substance abuse.

Court records indicate Trout was arrested in February 2022 on allegations that he pointed a gun at a man during an argument and threatened to shoot. Police were present and intervened. Charges in that case were dismissed earlier this year after Trout entered a pretrial diversion program.

Days later, though, he was arrested again when police said he took a shirt and some candy from a Pinellas Park Walmart without paying. When police searched him, they found a switchblade knife. He was awaiting trial on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon when the shooting threat happened.

Trout was being held Saturday in the Pinellas County Jail. His next court hearing is set for Dec. 18.