A Florida man accused of murdering his roommates claims to have shared their neo-Nazi ideology with the two men until he converted to Islam and shot them because they disrespected his faith.
According to investigators, Devon Arthurs, 18, killed Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, because he was angry about anti-Muslim sentiment in the world and he “wanted to bring attention to his cause.”
The murders occurred at the Hamptons at Tampa Palms apartment complex followed by a hostage situation that took place at the nearby Green Planet Smoke Shop.
Upon entering the smoke shop about 5:30 pm, Arthurs brandished a semiautomatic pistol.
Do me a favor and get the f— on the ground!” he yelled to a female employee and male customer, then asked the customer, “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”
Another customer entered a few minutes later and was ordered by Arthurs to get on the ground. Arthurs also alerted the hostages that he had already killed someone.
“He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” said a police report.
Two Tampa police officers responded to the scene and were able to convince Arthurs to release the hostages and surrender to arrest.
As he was led to a patrol car, Arthurs made references to “Allah Mohammed.”
“I had to do it,” he said. “This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country.”
When asked by officers if anyone else was injured, Arthurs replied, ” The people in the apartment, but they’re aren’t hurt, they’re dead.”
Arthurs directed them to his apartment where they found another of Arthur’s roommates, Brandon Russell, standing outside the door, “crying and visibly upset.” Arthurs saw Russell and said to police, “That’s my roommate. He doesn’t know what’s going on and just found them like you guys did.”
Officers entered the apartment where they found Himmelman and Oneschuk inside, both shot in the head and upper body and “obviously deceased.”
In an interview with investigators, Arthurs claimed that, prior to the killings, “he had 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.”
Arthurs is being detained without bail and has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping.