A former neo-Nazi was arrested for killing his two roommates in Tampa, Florida last week, allegedly because they did not respect his recent conversion to Islam, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
Devon Arthurs, 18, told police he and his roommates had “shared a common neo-Nazi belief” until Arthurs converted to Islam.
The Tampa native is accused of shooting Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, both of Walpole Massachusetts, in the apartment they shared with a fourth man, twenty-two-year-old Brandon Russell.
Investigators looking into the murders quickly discovered there was more to the story. The Tampa Bay Times reported officers found a garage full of bomb making materials which led to federal charges being filed against Russell. Russell is a Florida National Guardsman and neo-Nazi who had a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh on his dresser.
The case began on Friday when Arthurs reportedly took hostages at the Green Planet Smoke Shop near the apartment he shared with Himmelman, Oneschuk, and Russell. He told the hostages he had already killed someone that day and was upset that America was bombing “his Muslim countries.”
Two Tampa police officers arrived on the scene and one hostage escaped and ran out of the store. Officers convinced Arthurs to let the remaining two hostages leave and he ultimately surrendered. According to reports, Arthurs made references to “Allah Mohammed” as he was handcuffed and led to the patrol car.
“Allah Mohammed” is not a Muslim phrase, reports the Washington Post, and it is unclear whether Arthur officially converted to Islam or when the alleged conversion took place.
When officers asked Arthurs if anyone else was hurt he told police, “The people in the apartment, but they aren’t hurt, they’re dead.”
He then directed law enforcement to his apartment and it was there police encountered Russell in his National Guard camouflage “crying and visibly upset.”
“He [Russell] doesn’t know what’s going on and just found them like you did,” Arthurs reportedly told law enforcement.
When officers entered the apartment, they found Himmelman and Oneschuk dead with gunshot wounds to the head and upper body.
During questioning, Arthurs confessed to killing his roommates and explained that they had all been neo-Nazis until Arthurs converted to Islam. At that point, reports the Washington Post, Arthurs “has become angered by the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and had wanted to bring attention to his cause. Arthurs also stated that, before the murder, he had been privy to neo-Nazi internet chat sites threatening to kill people, and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him.”
In the subsequent search of the shared apartment, officers discovered bomb-making equipment in the garage, including fuses and a cooler containing the explosive HMTD, according to the Washington Post.
Officers found firearms, ammunition and white supremacist propaganda in Russell’s bedroom. The Washington Post reports Russell told investigators he had made the HMTD and was the owner of the fuses in the garage. He also admitted to being a “national socialist” with neo-Nazi beliefs and claimed membership in a hate group called the “Atom Waffen” (German for atomic weapon”).
Arthurs has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of armed kidnapping. He is being held in the Hillsborough County Jail without bail and was scheduled to appear before the judge Wednesday morning.
Photo: Hillsborough County Jail