A Florida man who was formerly a neo-Nazi but recently converted to Islam killed his two roommates Friday for “disrespecting” the Muslim faith. Police in Tampa, Florida arrested Devon Arthurs after he held three people hostage inside a smoke shop before leading authorities to the bodies of his two roommates.
Arthurs, 18, yelled “Allah Mohammed” while police walked him to a patrol car, according to the arrest affidavit. He told police he was angered by the world’s “anti-Muslim” sentiments and “wanted to bring attention to his cause,” according to the Tampa Bay Times. He said his roommates also shared his previous neo-Nazi beliefs.
“I had to do it,” Arthurs told police. “This wouldn’t have happened if your country didn’t bomb my country.”
Police were called Friday evening after Arthurs entered the Green Planet Smoke Shop in Tampa. Employees there said Arthurs, armed with a gun, was ranting about having killed two people while holding three people hostage in the store. Arthurs reportedly bragged of having “blasted their head” to the hostages. The store’s manager, Fadi Soufan, was able to get away for enough time to call police.
“He came in there with a gun, never faced it at [the employees],” Soufan told FOX 13. “[He was] telling them the world’s corrupt, crazy stuff like that, and that he just shot someone.”
At one point, Arthurs reportedly said he wanted to end up on cable news.
“He wanted publicity,” Soufan said. “Actually, he pointed at the camera. He said he wanted CNN to come.”
The police report stated that Arthurs was armed with a semiautomatic handgun that he removed from his waistband when he arrived at the store.
“Do me a favor and get the f—- on the ground!” Arthurs yelled to a female employee and male customer, according to the report. “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”
“He…informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” police detective Kenneth Nightlinger said in the report.
Police arrived to arrest Arthurs, and he told them where the bodies of his roommates could be found. Police then located the bodies of Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, inside a nearby apartment complex. Both appeared to have died of gunshot wounds, police said. The three men lived together at the Hamptons Condominium complex.
Sometime during the arrest and location of the bodies, police became concerned about the possible presence of bombs or other explosives. Though they didn’t say what led them to believe there could be explosives, the Tampa Police bomb squad and the Tampa Fire Rescue Hazmat team “worked through the night to ensure that it was safe to enter the condominium,” police said in a press release. No bombs were found in the building.
Arthurs was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and armed kidnapping. Following his arrest, Arthurs told police the details of the incident, including the exact rifle he used and the order in which he shot and killed the men. Police said they were still attempting to determine what occurred in the lead-up to the shooting.