Fears of a serial killer in Tampa have ended with the arrest of a 24-year-old man in connection with four fatal shootings.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson III faces four counts of premeditated murder in the killings of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, Monica Caridad Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa, and Ronald Felton, according to Tampa police chief Brian Dugan.
Donaldson was arrested Tuesday, Nov. 28 after a McDonald’s employee said he handed a gun to a manager. The manager then contacted a police officer who was also in the building, reported WTSP.
Dugan told CBS News: “When I think I found out there was a gun, and when we looked at his description, it was a little more than what we really had. It just felt right. I kinda had a feeling that we were going to get a break.”
Police have been searching for the killer of the four people who were all residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since Oct. 9. according to the news outlet. All the killings happened close to each other and weren’t robberies, police said, sparking fears they could have been carried out by a serial killer.
After police released security video footage showing a hooded suspect running from the scene in the moments following the murder of 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell on Oct. 9, police chief Dugan made the following statement: “I’ve come up with four reasons why this person is running. One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they’re out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots. And number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell.”
Over the following month, three more people would be shot and killed: Monica Hoffa, 32, on Oct. 11; Anthony Naiboa, 20, on Oct. 19; and Ronald Felton, 60, on Nov. 14.
Although Seminole Heights is only slowly becoming gentrified and petty crimes are fairly common, residents have said there has been nothing like this before, according to CBS News.
Dugan said police are still determining Donaldson’s connection to the neighborhood.
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