TAMPA, Fla. - Detectives are investigating a double homicide after a Tampa man admitted to shooting and killing his two roommates because he says they disrespected his Muslim faith.
Tampa Police arrested 18-year-old Devon Arthurs on two counts of first degree murder and armed kidnapping on Friday, May 19, 2017.
According to police, Arthurs walked into the Green Planet Smoke Shop, located at 15325 Amberly Drive in Tampa, around 5:30 p.m. on Friday and told two customers and an employee that they could not leave.
Tampa Police officers responded to the scene and made contact with Arthurs who was armed at the time. The officers got Arthurs to agree to drop his gun and let the hostages go. He was taken into custody with no further incident.
Police say once he was in custody, Arthurs told the officers he had killed two people and showed them the bodies inside of a New Tampa apartment. Officers entered the apartment and found two deceased males who had both appeared to have died from gunshot wounds.
On Sunday, police identified the victims as 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk. Both victims lived with Arthurs at the apartment.
When detectives interviewed Arthurs and asked why he did it, he told them that his roommates shared "a common neo-Nazi belief," until Arthurs converted to Islam. He told the detectives that the two roommates disrespected his Muslim faith. He also told police that he had become angered by what he described as the world's anti-Muslim sentiment and wanted to bring attention to his cause.
Neighbors are now concerned about their own safety in the area.
"Things happen but it's the proximity to which I am to the event as well as the details that have been slowly released," one neighbor said.
One neighbor is even moving out after this.
Others are left trying to understand how something like this could happen so close to them.
"It is a sad day, sad moment to know that our neighbors were shot down like that," another neighbor said.
The details of the case were shared with the FBI.
Earlier in the investigation, Officers called Tampa Fire-Rescue's Hazmat teams to search the apartment as a precautionary move late Friday into early Saturday. The Tampa Fire Rescue Hazmat team worked with the assistance of the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to ensure that it was safe to enter the apartment.
The FBI is also investigating another man Arthurs identified as having common neo-Nazi beliefs. This man was arrested after being found with explosives in a garage.