A Florida teen decided to kill his roommates after he converted to Islam. He claimed that they were disrespecting his beliefs.
18-year-old Devon Arthurs shot and killed 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk on Friday at the Hamptons at Tampa Palms Complex. Both men sustained gunshot wounds both in the head and upper body. Arthurs reportedly became upset about anti-Muslim sentiment around the world. Police said Arthurs “wanted to bring attention to his cause.”
For Tampa Police, their encounter with Arthurs started when they responded to call regarding a possibly armed suspicious male inside the Green Planet Smoke Shop. At approximately 5:30 PM, Arthurs reportedly entered the smoke shop at 15325 Amberly Drive and proceeded to pull out a semiautomatic pistol. He then yelled to a female employee and male customer saying, “Do me a favor and get the f— on the ground!” Arthurs then asked a customer, “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”
Arthurs took hostages after murdering roommates.
According to a report from Tampa Bay Times, another customer soon entered the store and Arthurs ordered him to get down. he also told all three people in the store that he had already killed someone. While holding people hostage, he also discussed how upset he was about what is happening to Muslim countries. “He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” Detective Kenneth Nightlinger said in his criminal report.
Around five minutes after the second customer entered the store, two Tampa Police officers arrived at the scene. They had managed to convince Arthurs to let the hostages go after another hostage ran out. According to a report from the Tampa Police, they managed to take Arthurs into custody without incident. While he was in custody, however, Arthurs also “made comments to the officers that he killed two people.”
Following this, officers entered Arthurs residence and found the bodies of Himmelman and Oneschuk. When they arrived at the scene, they also found Brandon Russell, another one of Arthurs’ roommates. He had been away on National Guard duties at the time of the shootings.
It turns out that Arthurs had once shared neo-Nazi beliefs with the victims and Russell until he converted to Islam. An investigation in Russell’s bedroom revealed white supremacist and Nazi propaganda, including the framed photo of Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.
Police found explosive materials in Russell’s room.
Police also discovered several explosive materials in Russell’s room. “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,” Detective Nightlinger further stated.
Today, Russell faces charges of possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material. Meanwhile, Arthurs is facing several charges including two counts of murder in the first degree, two counts of aggravated assault and three counts of armed kidnapping.