A White supremacist is being accused of fatally shooting his two neo-Nazi roommates after they objected to his decision to convert to Islam.
Investigators responding to a double murder at a New Tampa apartment came across an alarming find: A cooler full of explosive material and other bomb-making materials owned by an Army National Guard member and admitted neo-Nazi who had a framed photo of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on his dresser.
Police arrived at the apartment in the Hamptons at Tampa Palms complex Friday evening after 18-year-old Devon Arthurs told police he killed his roommates Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, according to a Tampa Police report. Arthurs said all of them shared neo-Nazi beliefs but he later converted to Islam and killed the roommates because they disrespected his faith, the report states.
When they arrived at the apartment, police found Brandon Russell, standing just outside the door, “crying and visibly upset.” Russell, wearing U.S. Army camouflage, had just returned to the apartment from National Guard duties.
While searching the garage of the apartment, investigators found a cooler full of a white, cake-like explosive material known as HMTD, or hexamethylene tiperoxide diamine, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court. Nearby, they found explosive precursors including potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, nitro methane and more than a pound of ammonium nitrate in a package addressed to Russell.
Investigators also found electric matches and empty 5.56 caliber ammunition casings with fuses that could be used to detonate destructive devices once HMTD was added to the casings. The materials could be used to make a bomb, according to the complaint.
In Russell’s bedroom, investigators discovered Nazi and white supremacist propaganda including a framed photograph of McVeigh, an American domestic terrorist convicted and executed for the detonating an ammonium nitrate and nitromethane fertilizer truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
According to the complaint, Russell admitted to being a national socialist, manufacturing the HTMD and owning the precursors. He also admitted to being a member of a self-organized white supremacy group called the Atomwaffen.
When questioned about the purpose of the explosives, Russell said he was in an engineering club at the University of South Florida in 2013 and used the HMTD to boost homemade rockets and to send balloons into the atmosphere, among other things.
“Based on my training and experience, HMTD is too energetic and volatile for these types of uses,” U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Timothy A. Swanson wrote in the complaint.
According to the federal complaint, Arthurs told investigators that all four men shared neo-Nazi beliefs until he converted to Islam.
“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.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office arrested Russell on Sunday in Key Largo and charged him with possessing an unregistered destructive device and unlawful storage of explosive material. A report in Flkeysnews.com said deputies pulled him over for a traffic stop.
Russell’s arrest is the latest twist in a case that began Friday with a hostage situation at the nearby Green Planet Smoke Shop. A Tampa police report obtained by the Tampa Bay Times on Monday provides chilling new details about the killings and the drama that unfolded at Green Planet.
Arthurs, 18, entered the smoke shop at 15325 Amberly Drive about 5:30 p.m. and removed a semiautomatic pistol from his waistband.
“Do me a favor and get the f— on the ground!” he yelled to a female employee and male customer, the report states. Arthurs asked the customer, “Why shouldn’t I kill you?”
A few minutes later, another customer entered the store and Arthurs ordered him to get on the ground. He told all three people in the store that he had already killed someone.
“He further informed all three victims that he was upset due to America bombing his Muslim countries,” the report by police Detective Kenneth Nightlinger.
Two Tampa police officers arrived about five minutes after the second customer entered the store. One of the hostages ran out of the store, and the officers were able to persuade Arthurs to let the other two leave. After several more minutes of negotiating, he surrendered and allowed the officers to place him in handcuffs.
Arthurs made references to “Allah Mohammed” as officers walked him to a patrol car.
“I had to do it,” he said, according to the report. “This wouldn’t have had to happen if your country didn’t bomb my country.”
See More- Source: Tampa Bay