Police: Gunman said neo-Nazi roommates were planning terror

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS) A man told police he fatally shot his neo-Nazi roommates because he wanted to prevent a planned act of domestic terrorism.

Court documents filed Tuesday show that 18-year-old Devon Arthurs made the comment to police on Friday after leading officers to the two bodies.

Arthurs, who told police he was a recent convert to Islam, said his roommates had disparaged his new religion and that their behavior also spurred his actions. Arthurs told police he had once shared their racist views before converting to Islam.

Investigators found bomb-making materials, Nazi propaganda and a framed photograph of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in the apartment with the bodies.

Also arrested was a fourth roommate, Brandon Russell, an active member of the Florida National Guard who police say admitted to being a neo-Nazi and who gathered the explosives. Russell allegedly told authorities he started a neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen, according to a federal complaint. He is being charged in federal court with explosives-related crimes.

The sister of one of the victims told the Associated Press her brother was friends with Russell and Arthurs, but was staying with them because he needed an inexpensive place to live and didn’t have racist views.

Alyssa Himmelman is the sister of Jeremy Himmelman, 22, whose body was found alongside Andrew Oneschuk, 18, on Friday in a Tampa apartment.

The four lived in the Tampa apartment together, but Russell had just returned from guard duty when he found Himmelman’s and Onechuk’s bodies, according to court documents. Police found him in full military dress, and crying.

Alyssa Himmelman said her brother was friends with Russell and Arthurs, but she described Arthurs as acting “sick and twisted” when she met him previously.

“He was an odd character,” she said in a telephone interview, describing the time she met Arthurs when he visited her brother in Massachusetts before Jeremy moved to Florida. “He was very loud and racist. He said vulgar things.”

Alyssa Himmelman says her brother was only living there to try and get on his feet, and didn’t subscribe to the beliefs Arthurs is claiming her brother held. She said Russell, 21, was the one who kept a framed photograph of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh on his dresser in a locked bedroom, and who had the military training and bomb-making knowledge he’d picked up in college.

She said her brother was just naive, and did not believe Russell and Arthurs were capable of the killing or bombing the two allegedly plotted and carried out. She said Jeremy had planned to come home soon, and that he’d fallen out with Russell and Arthurs before.

“Jeremy was just too kindhearted to think people like Devon and Brandon could do something like this,” she said. “He never saw that.”

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