An 18-year-old Tampa man has been charged with kidnapping and two counts of first-degree murder after he allegedly shot his two roommates dead for “disrespecting” his newly-found Muslim faith.
Devon Arthurs has been identified by Tampa police as the man who shot and killed Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk on May 19, less than a month after the three moved in with each other. Arthurs was arrested by police shortly after he held up a business in the Tampa area, confessing to them that he killed his two roommates.
He was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on May 20 and was being held without bond.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Arthurs Held Workers Hostage at a Smoke Shop
Police were called to Green Planet Smoke Shop in Tampa at around 5:3 p.m. May 19 for a report of a possibly-armed man. When they arrived, they found Arthurs to be armed, telling customers and employees that they couldn’t leave.
After speaking with police, Arthurs let the hostages go and gave up his weapon, being taken into custody. While being interviewed, he admitted to killing two people and told officers where their bodies were located.
The bodies of Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, were found deceased with gunshot wounds. Himmelman, Oneschuk and Arthurs were all living at the same living complex — The Hamptons at Tampa Palms.
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2. Arthurs Said He Killed His Roommates for ‘Anti-Muslim’ Statements
According to an arrest report, the motive in Arthurs’ alleged murders was because he was angry at the world’s “anti-Muslim” sentiment.
He told officers that he formally identified as a neo-Nazi, but had just recently converted to Islam. He added that Himmelman and Oneschuk shared neo-Nazi beliefs at one point.
When officers walked Arthurs to the patrol car, he uttered phrases such as “Allah Mohammed!”
Officers conducted a full investigation and interview of Arthurs, who told them that he decided to kill his roommates because they “disrespected” his Muslim faith. The investigation is ongoing.
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3. Himmelman & Oneschuk Reportedly Moved From Massachusetts
A report by the Tampa Bay Times said that Hmmelman and Oneschuk, who were from Massachusetts, moved down to Tampa for a “change of pace.”
Himmelman’s sister Lyssa told the newspaper that Arthurs had invited them to live in his apartment, and they both took him up on the offer.
But in their first few days after the move, they realized that something wasn’t right with their new roommate, Arthurs. Because of their assumptions, they had planned to move back to Massachusetts on May 21, two days after they were murdered.
Lyssa said that her brother and Oneschuk were friends for just about a year, and he had “aspirations of enlisting in the military.”
Oneschuk, on the other hand, had plans to join the Navy. She said that both of them were well-versed in their knowledge of politics and history and “could speak on the subjects for hours.”
Lyssa added that she didn’t know much about Arthurs, but had heard he exhibited some “extreme” views from the two friends. That’s the thing that caused conflict in the residence, she said.
On March 12, 2013, Himmelman and a friend were stopped in Walpole by police. Himmelman was the passenger in the vehicle and was arrested and charged with possession of a class D substance — marijuana.
4. The Families of the 2 Victims Are Left Grieving
After news of their murders surfaced, the community of Walpole, Massachusetts grieved for Himmelman and Oneschuk.
Himmelman’s girlfriend, Kianna Kaizer, would have spent nine months dating him May 20. She said that she planned to visit him in Tampa over the summer. But now she’s left with an empty heart, as she posted to her Facebook page.
Kaizer told The Tampa Times that her boyfriend was a big fan of animals and even had a pet gecko. She said that Himmelman would search for homeless cats in Florida that he could take in.
“He was the most caring man I’ve ever met,” she said to the newspaper. “Jeremy was a sweet, funny, amazing, loving brother who would never hurt a fly. He thought this was his friend who would never hurt him and he betrayed him.”
5. A White Supremacist Website Claims Himmelman & Oneschuk Were Members of the ‘Atowaffen’
The police report said that the two victims were formerly neo-Nazi’s, and that seemed to be confirmed by a white supremacist website, Daily Stormer.
The website called Himmelman and Oneschuk “white nationalists” and “members of the Atomwaffen.” The Attowaffem is described by the website as “a group of neo-Nazi nerds” who “have been recruiting new members at top-tier American universities.” The “Attomwaffen Division” has a YouTube channel where it posts propoganda videos of its beliefs and more.
The Daily Stormer said that Himmelman and Oneschuk posted fliers with neo-Nazi beliefs “at tons of universities over the years.”
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