A Florida man and alleged former neo Nazi is accused of murdering his two roommates because they disrespected Islam, his new religion, and authorities investigating another roommate allegedly found a framed photo of Timothy McVeigh in the apartment and enough explosive materials for a bomb.
Devon Arthurs shot 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk, his roommates in a Tampa, Florida apartment, before giving himself up in a nearby smoke shop, police allege.
“When he was detained Friday evening (May 19), defendant Devon Arthurs claimed that the two roommates that he killed were neo-Nazis who disrespected Arthurs’ recent conversion to Islam,” a Tampa police report obtained by Heavy says.
The Tampa Police Department has shared the information with the FBI.
In addition, another roommate of the men – Brandon Russell, whom a police spokesman told Heavy was not involved in the murders but lived in the same apartment – was “arrested in Key Largo following a traffic stop,” according to The Miami Herald. An FBI affidavit says that Russell admitted to being a National Socialist and member of a splinter group called the “Atom Waffen,” and it says that authorities found a variety of explosive materials in the apartment, which was leased by Russell, a member of the U.S. Army National Guard. You can read more about Brandon Russell here.
The “Atom Waffen” is a white supremacist, neo Nazi cell that is accused of distributing materials on university campuses. Arthurs allegedly told police that “he has become angered by the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and had wanted to bring attention to his cause. Arthurs also stated that, prior to 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,” an affidavit in his case says.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Arthurs Is Accused of Mentioning Allah & Killing His Roommates for Disrespecting Islam
Arthurs, 18, is accused of shooting his two roommates to death in the Florida apartment complex where they all lived because they hadn’t taken kindly to his conversion to the Muslim faith.
Police said both were killed by gunshot wounds. A Fox reporter tweeted that the suspect is accused of using a rifle in the slayings.
The police report alleges that, when detectives interviewed Arthurs and inquired about a motive for the killings, “Arthurs claimed that he and his roommates shared a common neo-Nazi belief, until Arthurs recently converted to Islam. He said his roommates disrespected his Muslim faith.”
The suspect is accused of becoming more and more enraged by how the world treated Muslims.
“He also said he had become angered by what he described as the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and wanted to bring attention to his cause,” police alleged in the report.
Arthurs used the phrase “Allah Mohammed” upon arrest, Tampa police say. While walking to a patrol vehicle, he made references to “Allah Mohammed!” and said, “I had to do it. This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country,” an affidavit alleges.
Himmelman’s sister posted this photo on Facebook of Jeremy with the caption, “Love you big brother, always.”
Lyssa Himmelman, the sister, told The Tampa Bay Times that her brother “had aspirations of enlisting in the military and Oneschuk planned to join the Navy.”
She said they moved to Florida from Massachusetts only recently and quickly ran into conflict with Arthurs because “he had extreme views.” Himmelman told the newspaper that her brother was “a wonderful guy with a good heart” and loved hiking and animals.
However, Russell is accused of telling police the two victims and Arthurs were also white supremacists.
A special agent with the FBI’s Tampa Domestic Terrorism squad submitted an affidavit in the Russell case.
According to the affidavit, when officers arrived, they encountered Russell standing just outside the front door. He had just returned to the apartment from Army National Guard duties and was crying and visibly upset.
He said that he didn’t know what was going on. Police entered the apartment and found the two victims, who had suffered gunshot wounds to the upper body and head.
Arthurs confessed to shooting both men, the affidavit says. According to the affidavit, Arthurs said all four men, “had been friends who shared a common neo-Nazi belief, until Arthurs recently converted to Islam.” Arthurs alleged that Russell participated in “online neo-Nazi internet chat rooms where he threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure.”
2. Authorities Allegedly Found Materials for a Destructive Device in the Apartment, Along With a Framed Photo of McVeigh
When police searched the apartment, they allegedly found a trove of explosive materials – enough to build a bomb.
In the garage area, they found “a cooler containing a white cake-like substance” that was HMTD, an explosive known as hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, the affidavit says.
Nearby, they found explosive precursors including potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, more than one pound of ammonium nitrate, allegedly in a package addressed to Brandon Russell, nitro methane, hexamine, and citric acid. (According to the Los Angeles Times, Timothy McVeigh “used 4,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.”)
They also found electric matches and empty 5.56 caliber ammunition casings with fuses that could be used to detonate destructive devices, the affidavit says.
The FBI agent said in the affidavit that the HMTD in the garage combined with some of the other chemicals would “constitute a bomb.”
In the resident, allegedly inside Russell’s bedroom, officers “located Nazi/white supremacist propaganda, including a framed photograph of Oklahoma City-federal building bomber Timothy McVeigh on his dresser, firearms, and ammunition.”
The bomb technicians’ pagers alerted to two radiation sources (thorium and americium).
According to the affidavit, Russell admitted to being a national socialist. He said he was a member of a “self-organized group called the ‘Atom Waffen’ (German for ‘atomic weapon’),” the affidavit alleges.
Russell is accused of admitting he manufactured the HMTD in the garage and owned the precursors.
Russell allegedly claimed that he had the materials because he was in an engineering club at the University of South Florida in 2013, and he used the HMTD to boost homemade rockets and to send balloons into the atmosphere for testing, but the FBI agent said in the affidavit that HMTD is “too energetic and volatile for these types of uses.”
The police report adds that “due to concerns about possible explosives at the apartment, the Tampa Police bomb squad and the Tampa Fire Rescue Hazmat team worked with the assistance of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to ensure that it was safe to enter the apartment.”
Russell is accused of possessing an unregistered destructive devices and unlawful storage of explosives.
It’s not clear whether Arthurs had any knowledge of the explosive materials.
3. Employees at a Smoke Shop Say Arthurs Came Into the Business Wielding a Gun
Police learned about the murders because Arthurs is accused of leading them to the bodies. He’d shown up in a local smoke shop with a gun, police say. The store’s manager told The Tampa Bay Times that Arthurs seemed like he wanted publicity, and said, “the world was corrupt, crazy stuff like that, that he just shot someone at Hampton over there…He wanted publicity. Actually, he pointed at the camera. He said he wanted CNN to come.”
The affidavit in Arthurs’ case alleges that, when he walked into the smoke shop, he lifted up the back of his T-shirt and removed a black semiautomatic pistol from his rear waistband, pointing it at a woman and ordering her to get on the ground. He allegedly yelled, “Do me a favor and get the f*ck on the ground!” He allegedly said to a second victim, “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”
Another person entered the store, and Arthurs allegedly ordered him to the ground. He said that “he had already killed somebody. He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” the affidavit says.
Two Tampa police officers arrived at the scene and confronted Arthurs. Arthurs allowed the victims to leave the store and surrendered. He allegedly told the police that the people in the apartment across the street were “definitely dead.”
At the apartment, the officers encountered Russell, in full US Army camouflage. Arthurs allegedly said, “That’s my roommate (Russell). He doesn’t know what’s going on and just found them like you guys did.”
According to the Tampa Police Department press release on the case, “The investigation started at approximately 5:28 p.m. on May 19 when officers responded to a call regarding a suspicious male who was possibly armed at the Green Planet Smoke Shop. The officers made contact with the suspect who was armed at the time.”
The police report says that Arthurs briefly took hostages in the gun store.
“The armed man, who it was later learned was Devon Arthurs, told two customers and an employee in the shop that they could not leave,” the police report says. “The officers kept talking to Arthurs and he agreed to let the hostages leave and dropped his weapon.”
Arthurs then led authorities to the bodies, the release said.
“While in custody, the suspect made comments to the officers that he killed two people. The suspect directed the officers to a home inside The Hamptons Condominium, located at 15350 Amberly Drive. Officers entered the residence and located two deceased males,” the release said.
4. One of the Victims Had Posted a Pro Trump Sign on Facebook in Camouflage
Oneschuk’s Facebook cover photo shows men in camouflage and weapons posing with a Trump sign. On the comment thread, he appears to be commenting that Trump will destroy NATO, which he supports.
“Tfw your president wants to put nato in the ground too,” Oneschuk wrote under the photo. A friend commented, “tfw trump will fix this sh*thole,” and Oneschuk responded, “He’s going to make pre fallout 3 real.”
The Fallout video game series deals with a post apocalyptic world that has been destroyed by nuclear war.
However, a participant in the photo told Heavy he wasn’t aware that Oneschuk had any neo Nazi ties, and he said the photo is from an airsoft game.
On his Facebook page, Oneschuk posted photos of himself skiing and of Paris. He posted questions about “how black are you?” and “which Call of Duty character are you?” He shared a photo of a large gun, and of a Mercedes Benz building.
He also shared a video of Keine Lust, a song by the German band, Rammstein.
5. A White Supremacist Site Claims the Victims Were Part of a Group Distributing Fliers at Universities & That Neo Nazis Thought Arthurs Was a Federal Informant
A white supremacist site, Daily Stormer, called the victims members of the “Atomwaffen,” and said they “made just one mistake,” which the site says was trusting a convert to Islam (while using an offensive slur for members of the faith.)
The site alleged, “Atomwaffen are a bunch of good dudes. They’ve posted tons of fliers with absolutely killer graphics at tons of universities over the years.”
The site posted a piece of a chat thread in which members talked about Arthurs, and alleges, “All three of these people were known to us. I have personally had a conversation with the Islamic murderer months ago, where I implied he might be a federal agent. I had just banned him from our Discord server for being shady as all hell and trying to get people to convert to Salafism, an especially violent and wicked form of Islamism.”
RadarOnline, in January, wrote an expose on the Atomwaffen, which the site said are “a group of neo-Nazi nerds” who “have been recruiting new members at top tier American universities.” The site added that the “Atomwaffen Division, are considered a potential threat because they’re aligned with Islamic terrorists and are encouraging attacks on the United States.”