Neo-Nazi group with Tampa ties called ‘real threat’ by anti-defamation league

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — In an interview room at the Tampa Police Headquarters on May 20, 2017, at 1:20 a.m., Devon Arthurs calmly told police how and why he had murdered his two roommates.

Arthurs told police they had all been part of a group called the Atomwaffen Division. The Anti-Defamation League now believes the group is one of the most dangerous white supremacy groups in the nation. 

During his interview, Arthurs also told police he needed mental health help.

“If I could go back and do something over, I would sign myself into a hospital and work on my anger issues and my rational thinking skills,” said Arthurs.

Police found Jeremy Himmelman and Andrew Oneschuk dead in their Tampa Palms apartment just hours before the interview at police headquarters. They also found bomb-making materials and neo-Nazi propaganda.

Arthurs bragged his roommates could make powerful bombs.

“They knew exactly how to build bombs that could have destroyed this entire building,” said Arthurs.

Joanna Mendelson is a senior investigative researcher with the Center on Extremism with the Anti-Defamation League and says the fact the Atomwaffen Division had bomb-making materials and plans to attack real facilities show they are a dangerous group.

“The targets included nuclear plants, synagogues and civilians,” Mendelson said. “And so regardless if they had the capability of carrying it out, the fact that they even had this idea that they would plot to hatch this plan is of great concern.”

Her concern is the group also has plans to start a race war with their violence.

“The ideology of Attomwaffen is to arm themselves, is to be soldiers in the fight,” said Mendelson.

Federal authorities also arrested Brandon Russell at Arthurs’ apartment. Russell and Arthurs had been friends for more than a year and first met online.

Arthurs and others claim Russell was the leader of the Atomwaffen Division and joined the U.S. Army to receive military training to advance his own beliefs. Arthurs has been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in obtaining bomb-making materials.

Mendelson says the groups aim to paint a bleak picture of the future to attract more people to participate in their violence against others.

“Atomwaffen in itself is white supremacy on steroids,” she said. “They echo some of the similar narratives that we see with other white supremacists.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

April 24 2021 08:00 am

Trending Stories

get the app

News App

Weather App

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss