A man told the police he killed his two roommates because they were neo-Nazis who respected his recent conversion to Islam, and investigators found bomb-making materials, and Nazi propaganda, after he led them to the bodies.
Devon Arthur, 18, told the police that he had until recently shared his roommates’ neo-Nazi beliefs, but that he converted to Islam, according to court documents and a statement of the Police Department of Tampa released Monday.
Arthur is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault with intent to commit a crime and three counts of armed kidnapping. Court records did not have a lawyer for him.
In the apartment with the bodies of the victims on Friday, investigators found Nazi and white racist propaganda; a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh; and explosives, and radioactive substances, according to the court documents.
They also found a fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, crying, and standing outside the apartment door in his U.S. Army uniform.
“That is my roommate (Russell). He doesn’t know what’s going on and found them just as you have,” Arthur told the police, the report said.
Federal agents arrested Russell, 21, on Saturday on charges related to the explosives.
The FBI said Russell “admitted to his neo-Nazi beliefs” and said that he was a member of a group called Atomwaffen, which is German for “nuclear weapon.”
Large, Caitlin Brown, spokeswoman for the Florida National Guard, confirmed Russell was a member of the Florida National Guard. But she could not immediately provide any other information.
Arthurs started the chain of events on Friday, when he held two customers and an employee hostage at gunpoint at a Tampa smoke shop, police said. He was complaining about the treatment of Muslims.
“He was also at the height of all three victims that he was angry because of the bombing of America are Islamic countries,” the police Detective Kenneth Nightlinger wrote in his report.
Officers talked Arthur into letting the hostages go and dropped his weapon, and took him into custody.
While in custody, police said Arthur began to talk about the killing of two people, and he led them to a condominium complex where the four roommates shared apartment.
“I had to do it,” Arthur told the police. “This would not happen if your country not bomb my country.”
Inside the apartment, the agents found the body of 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk. Both had been shot.
The police called in the FBI and a bomb squad, which is enough explosives to create a bomb, according to federal agents.
At first, Russell told cops he kept the explosives from his days in a technical club at the University of South Florida in 2013, and that he substances to stimulate home-made rockets. The agents wrote that the substance found was “too energetic, and too volatile for these types of uses.”
Russell is charged with possession of a non-destructive device and illegal storage of explosive substances. Court records did not have a lawyer for him.
Andrew Auernheimer, a notorious computer hacker and an internet troll wrote a post about the murders for The Daily Stormer, a leading neo-Nazi site.
Auernheimer, known online as “weev,” said Sunday in the post that he knew that the shooting of the suspect and the two victims of the shooting. He said that he prohibited Arthurs of The Daily Stormer is a Disagreement, server, online forum, for the post of “Muslim terrorist propaganda” earlier this year.
“He came to convert people to Islam,” Auernheimer said in a phone interview Monday. “It didn’t work very well for him.”
Auernheimer described Himmelman and Oneschuk as “friends of friends” and said that they belonged to the Atomwaffen group.
“Atomwaffen are a lot of good guys. They have posted tons of flyers with absolutely killer graphics with tons of universities over the years. Generally they have a lot of fun and party,” he wrote.
Dearen reported from Gainesville, Florida. Kunzelman of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.