Devon Arthurs [photo], also allegedly held two customers and an employee of Tampa’s Green Planet Smoke Shop hostage with a pistol on Friday before surrendering and leading cops to the bodies of his former friends.
An 18-year-old Arthurs from Tampa, Florida has been charged with kidnapping and two counts of first-degree murder after he allegedly shot his two roommates dead for “disrespecting” his newly found Muslim faith.
Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, were discovered dead of gunshot wounds to the upper body and head, police said.
Devon Arthurs killed Jeremy Himmelman, [left], and Andrew Oneschuk, [right] his two roommates for “disrespecting” his newly-found Muslim faith
Arthurs said that he and the pair had “shared a common neo-Nazi belief” but that he recently converted to Islam.
The suspected killer said that Himmelman and Oneschuk had “disrespected his Muslim faith” and adding that he was upset about anti-Muslim feelings globally and also wanted to bring attention to “his cause.”
According to a police affidavit, authorities were called to Green Planet Smoke Shop in Tampa at around 5:30 p.m. on May 19 for a report of a possibly armed man. When they arrived, they found that Arthurs was indeed armed and told customers and employees that they couldn’t leave.
After speaking with police, Arthurs let the three hostages go, gave up his weapon and was taken into custody. While being interviewed by authorities, he admitted to killing his two pals and told officers where their bodies were located.
It was not immediately clear how long the trio had lived together or how much time passed between Arthurs’s conversion and the eruption of violence.
Arthurs faces charges including two counts of murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping.
Authorities also mentioned that another man, Brandon Russell, had been arrested, but did not mention his charges.
Devon Athurs also allegedly held three people hostage at a Tampa’s Green Planet smoke shop
The police report said that the two victims were neo-Nazi’s, and that seemed to be confirmed by a white supremacist website, Daily Stormer.
The website called Himmelman and Oneschuk “white nationalists” and “members of the Atomwaffen.” The Attowaffem is described by the website as “a group of neo-Nazi nerds” who “have been recruiting new members at top-tier American universities.” The “Attomwaffen Division” has a YouTube channel where it posts propaganda videos of its beliefs and more. In German, the term “atomwaffen” means “atomic weapon.”
The Daily Stormer said that Himmelman and Oneschuk posted fliers with neo-Nazi beliefs “at tons of universities over the years.”
A federal complaint said that he was another roommate of Arthurs’, Brandon Russell had violated federal explosives laws, The Miami Herald reported.
Russell had just returned from Army National Guard training on Friday to find the two dead men, according to the complaint, and was arrests a day later in the Florida Keys.
Federal agents found with an array of materials to make explosives with.
Feds say they found the compound hexamethane triperoxide diamine as well as other bomb-making materials such as ammonium nitrate and the radioactive materials thorium and americium during a search of Russell’s house and garage.
Former neo-Facist buddies, Brandon Russell and alleged killer, Devon Arthurs with their faces covered, on a neo-Nazi message board in 2016
He was arrested on charges of possession of unregistered destructive devices and unlawful storage of explosive charges.
Russell was also identified as an active member of the “Atomwaffen Division.”
When authorities searched his room at the apartment, they found a photograph of Timothy McVeigh as well as Nazi/white supremacist propaganda in his bedroom, said that the explosive material was for an engineering project he did in 2013, according to his federal arrest affidavit.
However, Arthurs told feds that his roommate had been chatting in neo-Nazi chat rooms and saying that he had “threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure.”