Delonda Walker will receive $110,000 for providing police with a crucial piece of evidence that led to the successful arrest of a man suspected of killing four in Tampa, Florida.
Walker, a manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in the Ybor City neighborhood, was approached by a coworker on Tuesday, Nov. 28, around 2:30 p.m. The coworker handed her a bag and told her not to look inside, The Daily Mail reported.
But she did and found a gun inside. She “didn’t think much of it. Just thought it was strange that there was a gun in there,” said Brian Dugan, chief of Tampa Police Department, during Friday press conference.
She decided to tell a police officer, unaware that she was providing a key piece of evidence.
“That was the bit of information that we were looking for,” Dugan said. “That is what we needed.”
Seminole Heights neighborhood has been through a rough two months.
On Oct 9, Benjamin Mitchell was shot dead after getting off a bus at night.
Two days later Monica Hoffa, 32, was found dead, also from a shooting incident.
On Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot. He took the wrong bus from his new job and never made it home.
On Nov. 14, Ronald Felton was just crossing a street when a man dressed in black came up behind him and shot him.
None of the victims were robbed. They all walked down a street at night within a half-mile area of the neighborhood.
All four murders were committed with the same weapon, Dugan said. It was the gun handed to Walker by the coworker, Howell Emanuel Donaldson III.
Donaldson, 24, was arrested and, on Friday, charged with four counts of first degree murder.
Multiple law enforcement and community groups offered rewards for information leading to the murderer’s arrest, including the Crime Stoppers, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, FBI, Southeast Seminole Heights community group, Old Seminole Civic Association, Raise Tampa, Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurants Group, and others.
It was reported that Walker was denied part of the reward, but Dugan fixed that.
“Let me be clear, she will receive all $110,000,” Dugan said. “She will receive every penny of that.”
He said, however, it may take some time for all of the checks to reach Walker.
Walker refused to answer questions from media and asked for privacy. She, however, released a statement read by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn during the press conference.
“I went to work on Tuesday intending to serve customers and to do my job. The day turned out very differently. When confronted with this situation, I wanted to do the right thing and I reached out to a nearby police officer. Receiving a reward never entered my mind. Looking back, I am grateful to know I was helpful in assisting law enforcement. I hope you can understand that out of respect for the continuing investigations as well as the victims and their families, I will not be answering questions,” Walker said.
Family members of one of the victims, Monica Hoffa, thanked Walker on Thursday night for helping catch the alleged killer.
“She took all of that worry that was out there away and she made us all whole again,” said Hoffa’s father, Kenny Hoffa, WFTS Tampa Bay reported.
“So day one of our family healing started when we got the phone call, but it really started when she turned that gun over to the police,” Kenny Hoffa said. “She’s a hero to all of us and our family, she’s part of our family now.”
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