TAMPA, Fla. — A young man arrested after leading police to the bodies of his two roommates told officers he killed them because they were neo-Nazis who disrespected his recent conversion to Islam.
The Tampa Police Department says 18-year-old Devon Arthurs told police he had until recently shared his roommates’ neo-Nazi beliefs, but that he converted to Islam.
Arthurs told police he was angry about anti-Muslim sentiment.
Arthurs was arrested Friday after police say he held hostages at a Tampa smoke shop. Police talked Arthurs into letting the hostages go.
Arthurs then led police to the bodies of two roommates in an apartment filled with Nazi and white supremacist propaganda and bomb-making materials.
Police identified the victims as 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk. CBS affiliate WTSP reports the two were shot to death.
Another roommate, Brandon Russell, was arrested in connection with the explosive materials found in the apartment.
“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,” reads a complaint obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
The paper reports Russell, a Florida National Guard member, was standing outside the apartment “crying and visibly upset” when police arrived.
Investigators reportedly found a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in Russell’s bedroom, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Russell allegedly admitted to being a member of a white supremacy group. He told investigators he was in an engineering club and used the explosive materials to boost homemade rockets and send balloons into the atmosphere, the paper reports, but an FBI expert said in the affidavit the materials were too unstable for those purposes.
Russell was reportedly charged with possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material.