Tampa, FL — Seminole Heights, a neighborhood that has recently been plagued with multiple, seemingly random killings, has been under the heightened police attention for the last two months. A possible serial killer has been on the loose, shooting four people who were alone at night in the area. Security footage had caught him and provided an initial description, but he has remained at large, keeping residents of the neighborhood on edge.
On Tuesday, Tampa PD received a tip that someone at a McDonald’s in Ybor City had a pistol. Bystanders would witness police swarming a red car near the McDonald’s, and after preliminary investigation by detectives, the car was towed away. Police officers took the man in for questioning, and later Police Chief Brian Dugan admitted to being “optimistic” that this could be linked to the recent killings. Rumors abounded that the gun was the same as the one used in the murders, though the investigation was still ongoing.
The police department has recently announced that Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, the subject of the tip, “will face charges in connection with four murders in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.” He is 24 years old and is looking at four counts of first degree murder. In Florida, one count of first degree murder can warrant the death penalty, or life without parole at the very least.
Chief Dugan admitted that this is an ongoing situation and that not all answers will be brought to light immediately as Donaldson has only just been arrested. They have also been careful not to outright call him the suspected serial killer.
The killer’s victims were: Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20 and most recently, Ronald Felton, 60. There have been no apparent connections to the victims, other than the areas in which they were killed. Naiboa had reportedly gotten on the wrong bus and was on his way to return home when he was murdered.
There has been a $100,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of the killer, though it will be some time before the money is distributed (also depending on the nature of the tip). According to Chief Dugan, they “received more than 5,000 tips in this case.”
Here you can see the video of the suspect caught on camera, just after one of his murders:
Featured image courtesy of Twitter