Tampa, FL — Almost two months after the first murder in Seminole Heights, a neighborhood in the heart of Tampa, the accused murderer and potential serial killer has finally been charged with four counts of first degree murder.

The police were tipped off by a McDonald’s manager when Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, asked someone else to hold his loaded .40 caliber Glock (and that person alerted the manager). Donaldson was also an employee at the fast food restaurant. The manager, Delonda Walker, alerted a police officer who was attending the McDonald’s at the time.

The same Glock was used in all four of the murders in Seminole Heights, so tying them to each killing was crucial. Had Walker thought nothing of it or simply told him to put it away, Donaldson would likely still be at large. Police Chief Brian Dugan said she would receive “every penny” of the reward, which had grown over the weeks to a total of $110,000. Dugan had previously mentioned that they had “received more than 5,000 tips in this case.”

The largest chunk of the reward was from law enforcement partners, but some comes from private donors like a local restaurant owner that chipped in $9,000. There were several fundraisers as well.

Seminole Heights, along with the rest of Tampa, is sighing a collective relief after 51 days of being held hostage, as Donaldson was killing indiscriminately. Donaldson’s home was not actually located in Seminole Heights, and the McDonald’s was in Ybor City, a 5-10 minute drive from the neighborhood. It is not yet known why he chose that area to find and kill his victims.

The names of those who he killed are as follows:  Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton. He would approach them as they were alone at night, shoot them with his pistol and then walk away. Security footage of Donaldson shows just how relaxed he was about the whole thing, casually checking his cell phone as he leaves the scene of a murder.

The term “serial killer” has been used a lot, as Donaldson’s victims seem to have nothing in common except for the fact that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the victims simply just got off the wrong bus stop and was trying to find his way back. Donaldson will likely not be officially labelled a serial killer until all court proceedings are complete.


Featured image courtesy of arrests.org, altered by the author