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A man accused of shooting his roommates in a New Tampa apartment told police he shared neo-Nazi beliefs with the two men until he converted to Islam then killed them because they disrespected his faith.
Devon Arthurs told investigators he shot Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, because he had become angry about the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment and “wanted to bring attention to his cause,” according to a Tampa Police Department report obtained Monday by the Tampa Bay Times.
The report provides chilling new details about the shooting in the Hamptons at Tampa Palms complex and the hostage situation that unfolded afterward at the nearby Green Planet Smoke Shop.
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 “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.”
Asked if anyone else was hurt, Arthurs replied: ” The people in the apartment, but they’re aren’t hurt, they’re dead.”