Potentially deadly bomb-making materials, including ammonium nitrate, were found by authorities searching the garage at a Tampa, Florida, residence where two young men, described as neo-Nazis, were found fatally shot late last week.
The suspect in the double homicides is a former neo-Nazi himself, who recently converted to Islam — apparently motivated to kill his former neo-Nazi associates because they were disrespecting his new faith, according to media accounts.
Police not only found the bomb supplies, but a picture of 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh during the search, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Brandon Russell, 21, an admitted neo-Nazi and member of the Florida National Guard, has been charged with illegal possession of explosives.
Still in his military uniform, apparently having just returned from duty, he was found crying at the entrance of the upscale apartment residence he shared with Devon Arthurs, and the two homicide victims.
Arthurs, 18, led police to the apartment on May 19 after confessing that he fatally shot two other young men who also shared the residence, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, the Tampa newspaper reported.
Arthurs, who owned several firearms found at the residence, has been charged with two counts of murder. In Russell’s adjoining bedroom, police found a framed photo of McVeigh, the paper reported.
In a garage used by the tenants, authorities found an explosives cache, including a quantity of a chemical known as HMTD, potassium chlorate, potassium nitrate, nitro methane, hexamine and citric acid and one pound of ammonium nitrate. It was a key ingredient used by McVeigh in this deadly truck bomb attack on the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City.
The Tampa newspaper, quoting police sources, reported that Russell, a private first class in the Florida Army Guard, had obtained the explosive materials, but authorities haven’t disclosed if they know when or where they were purchased or stolen.
Authorities say there apparently was a plan to target infrastructure with the explosive materials, but they haven’t disclosed specific intended targets, nor have they said if the suspects’ and victims’ computers and cell phone records have turned up leads.
FBI agents assigned to a terrorism task force likely are heavily involved in the evolving investigation.
An explosives expert, quoted by the Tampa newspaper, said the recovered explosives could “do significant damage,” plenty enough to blow up a vehicle.