On Friday, an 18-year-old Florida man killed his two roommates for disrespecting his newfound Muslim faith and to “bring attention to his cause,” which he told police was the world’s so-called anti-Muslim sentiment.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa resident Devon Arthurs shot and killed his roommates, 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk, soon after he converted to Islam, telling investigators that all three men had “neo-Nazi beliefs” prior to his conversion.
A Tampa Police Department report revealed that Arthurs “had become angry about the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and ‘wanted to bring attention to his cause,’” as noted by the Tampa Bay Times.
“This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country,” Arthurs reportedly said during a standoff with police.
Following the shooting at the men’s apartment complex, the alleged murderer become engaged in a hostage situation with authorities, near a local smoke shop, per the report.
At roughly 5:30 p.m., Arthurs arrived at the shop with a semiautomatic pistol. “Do me a favor and get the f— on the ground!” he told both an employee and a customer.
“Why shouldn’t I kill you?” he asked the male customer.
“A few minutes later, another customer entered the store and Arthurs ordered him to get on the ground. He told all three people in the store that he had already killed someone,” reports the Tampa Bay Times.
“He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” says the report.
When two officers arrived on scene, a hostage was able to escape from the shop. Soon after, the Tampa cops persuaded Arthurs to release the other two hostages and eventually surrender himself.
When walking toward the police car in handcuffs, the perp “made references to ‘Allah Mohammed.’”
“I had to do it,” Arthurs said. “This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country.”
“The people in the apartment, but they’re aren’t hurt, they’re dead,” he responded, when asked if others were hurt.
When officers arrived at the apartment, they found the deceased bodies of Himmelman and Oneschuk, both shot in the head and upper body.
In an interview following the arrest, Arthurs said that he had previously “been privy to neo-Nazi internet sites threatening to kill people, and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him.”
Police also found fellow roommate Brandon Russell, “crying and visibly upset” outside the apartment door.
“That’s my roommate,” said Arthurs, of Russell, who was dressed in U.S. Army camouflage. “He doesn’t know what’s going on and just found them like you guys did.”
In a strange twist, it was reported in an update on Monday evening that Russell, too, has been arrested.
Tampa Bay Times reports:
While searching the garage of the apartment, investigators found a cooler full of a white, cake-like explosive material known as HMTD, or hexamethylene tiperoxide diamine, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Nearby, they found explosive precursors including potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, nitro methane and more than a pound of ammonium nitrate in a package addressed to Russell.
Investigators also found electric matches and empty 5.56 caliber ammunition casings with fuses that could be used to detonate destructive devices once HMTD was added to the casings. The materials could be used to make a bomb, according to the complaint.
In Russell’s bedroom, investigators discovered Nazi and white supremacist propaganda including a framed photograph of McVeigh, an American domestic terrorist convicted and executed for the detonating an ammonium nitrate and nitromethane fertilizer truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
The complaint said that Russell was an admitted “national socialist, manufacturing the HTMD and owning the precursors. He also admitted to being a member of a self-organized white supremacy group called the Atomwaffen.”
Russell claims he had the explosives from back in 2013, when he was in an engineering club at the University of South Florida “and used the HMTD to boost homemade rockets and to send balloons into the atmosphere, among other things.”
Arthurs claimed Russell also has neo-Nazi beliefs, just as he once had.
“Arthurs stated that for some time before the murders, he had been privy to Russell participating in online neo-Nazi internet chat rooms where he threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure,” says the complaint.
Russell was arrested by the the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on Sunday; he was charged with possession of an “unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material.”
“Arthurs faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping. He remained in the Hillsborough County jail without bail on Monday,” notes the Tampa Bay Times.