Crime

Shooting suspect told police he shot his roommates because they ‘disrespected his Muslim faith’

Devon Arthurs, 18, is facing two murder charges after he allegedly shot his two roommates after they “disrespected his Muslim faith,” Bay News 9 reported.
Devon Arthurs, 18, is facing two murder charges after he allegedly shot his two roommates after they “disrespected his Muslim faith,” Bay News 9 reported.

An 18-year-old suspect told police that he shot his two roommates because they didn’t respect his recent conversion to Islam, according to Bay News 9.

Devon Arthurs faces two murder charges after allegedly shooting his roommates 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk Friday in Tampa, according to Bay News 9.

When questioned by Tampa police detectives about why he shot his roommates, Arthurs reportedly claimed “he and his roommates shared a common neo-Nazi belief, until Arthurs recently converted to Islam,” according to Bay News 9.

Arthurs reportedly told police his roommates “disrespected his Muslim faith,” and said he “had become angered by what he described as the world's anti-Muslim sentiment and wanted to bring attention to his cause,” Bay News 9 reported.

The shootings occurred just before 5:30 p.m. at their Tampa home in the 15000 block of Amberly Drive, Bay News 9 reported.

Arthurs was taken into custody at Green Planet Smoke Shop on Amber Drive after holding two customers and an employee hostage, police told Bay News 9.

Details of Arthurs’ interview were shared with the FBI, according to Bay News 9.

The investigation is ongoing. He is being held in the Hillsoborough County Jail without bond, according to the jail website.

Another of Arthurs’ roommates, however, was found alive and arrested in Key Largo Sunday on possession of unregistered destructive devices and unlawful storage of explosive charges, according to Florida Keys News.

Brandon Russell, Arthurs’ roommate, was pulled over by Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies Sunday on U.S. 1, according to the Florida Keys News.

Russell is a confessed neo-Nazi who made explosives in his apartment, according to the Florida Keys News. Police found a cooler that tested positive for hexamethane triperoxide diamine (HMTD), a precursor to several different types of explosives, and empty 5.56-caliber bullet casings with fuses that agents told the Florida Keys News could be used as detonators.

In his bedroom, “devices used by police bomb technicians alerted to the presence of radiation sources — thorium and americium,” according to the Florida Keys News, along with Nazi/white supremacist propaganda.

Russell told officials the explosives were made in 2013 for a project for the engineering club at the University of South Florida, according to the Florida Keys News. However, an FBI agent wrote in a report that HMTD is “too energetic and volatile” for the type of uses Russell described.

Russell returned from duty with the U.S. Army National Guard May 19 to discover Arthurs killed Himmelman and Oneschuk. They were found with gunshots to their upper body and head, the Florida Keys News reported.

Arthurs told officials that “some time” before the murders, Russell participated in neo-Nazi online chat rooms and “threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure,” the Florida Keys News reported, citing an FBI report.

Sara Nealeigh: 941-745-7081, @saranealeigh

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