Man slays neo-Nazi roommates over Islam disrespect

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A former neo-Nazi who converted to Islam was charged with killing two roommates in his Florida apartment after he says they disrespected his faith, authorities said.

Arthurs started the chain of events on Friday when he held two customers and an employee hostage at gunpoint at a Tampa smoke shop, police said.

They also found a fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, crying and standing outside the apartment's front door in his U.S. Army uniform.

Court records obtained by LawNewz.com show he has been booked on two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault, and three counts of armed kidnapping.

Police identified the victims as 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk. She also said both men had been planning to leave because they disagreed with Arthurs' views.

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Before asking for an attorney, Russell allegedly told detectives that he was indeed a national socialist and was a member of a self-organized group called the Atomwaffen, which is German for "atomic weapon".

He said he was upset that America was bombing Muslim countries, Tampa Bay Police Det. Inside Russell's bedroom was a framed photograph of Timothy McVeigh, the man who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Himmelman's sister, Lyssa, told the Times that her brother and Oneschuk had arrived in Florida a couple of weeks earlier from MA and immediately suspected that "something was off" with Arthurs.

When an officer asked Arthurs if anyone was hurt, he reportedly replied, "The people in the apartment, but they ain't hurt, they're dead ... they're definitely dead". "This wouldn't have had to happen if your country didn't bomb my country".

According to a police complaint Russell has also admitted being a neo-Nazi and while searching the garage of the apartment, investigators found a cooler full of a white explosive material known as HMTD, or hexamethylene tiperoxide diamine. He told police he wanted to bring attention to his cause. Police talked Arthurs into letting the hostages go, and took him into custody.

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An FBI agent rejected that assertion, though, explaining in the arrest report that HMTD is "too energetic" to be used that way.

Both men appeared to have died of gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

Agents caught up with Russell in the Florida Keys over the weekend and arrested him on charges of unlawful storage of explosives and possession of an unregistered destructive device.

Dearen reported from Gainesville, Florida.

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