A Florida man stands accused of shooting his two roommates to death because they showed disrespect for Islam. Devon Arthurs, who had shared neo-Nazi ideology with the two roomates until he converted to the Muslim faith, told police that he killed Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, because he was incensed about the rejection of Islam around the world. Arthurs "wanted to bring attention to his cause," according to a Tampa Police Department report. 
 
The shooting occurred on Sunday in New Tampa at the Hamptons at Tampa Palms complex, while the suspect then went to hole up at Green Planet Smoke Shop nearby. It was at about 5:30 p.m. when the 18-year-old Arthurs walked into the smoke shop and pulled out a pistol from the waistband of his pants. Arthurs then shouted at a female employee and a male customer, "Do me a favor and get the f--- on the ground!" He then asked the male, "Why shouldn't I kill you?"
 
When another customer entered the store, Arthurs told him to go to the floor. He informed his hostages that he had already killed someone. Arthurs also told them that he was angered by U.S. bombing raids on Muslim countries.
 
About five minutes later, two police officers came to the scene. After one of the hostages ran out of the store, the officers managed to coax Arthurs to let the other two leave. After a parley of several minutes, Arthurs surrendered to authorities. He was then arrested and cuffed. As the police walked the alleged perpetrator to their patrol car, he made references to “Allah” and “Muhammed.” According to a police report, he said, "I had to do it," and added, "This wouldn't have had to happen if your country didn't bomb my country."
 
When he was asked if anyone else was hurt, Arthurs said, “The people in the apartment, but they're aren't hurt, they're dead." He then took the police to an apartment in the Hamptons. Police found Brandon Russell "crying and visibly upset." Standing outside the door, Russell was dressed in Army camouflage. Arthurs told police, "That's my roommate. He doesn't know what's going on and just found them like you guys did."
 
Inside the apartment, police found Oneschuk and Himmelman. Each had been shot in the head and upper body, “obviously deceased," according to the report. Later, Arthurs described the rifle he used to kill the roommates and where he aimed. Before carrying out the killings, Arthur told police that he was familiar with “neo-Nazi internet sites threatening to kill people, and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him."
 
Currently, Arthurs is in custody in the Hillsborough County jail and faces two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of armed kidnapping. Oneschuk and Himmelsman were from Massachusetts and had come to Florida for a change of pace. They had lived with Arthurs for two weeks.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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