Early Tuesday morning, a man was shot in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. Police are treating this shooting as if it is linked to three others that took place in October and believe it to be the work of a serial killer operating there.
“We think by their proximity and the manner it was done, they are linked,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference on Tuesday morning. “We’re saying it’s related to the other Seminole Heights murders.”
Ronald Felton, 60, the fourth victim, was on his way to feed the homeless at New Seasons Apostolic church. His brother, James Felton, said that Ronald spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning at the church. Ronald Felton was shot and killed just blocks away from a memorial to the other three people killed in the area.
The first person killed, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, was shot on October 9 while waiting for a bus. The second, 32-year-old Monica Caridad Hoffa, was shot two days later and ten blocks away from where Mitchell was killed. The third, 20-year-old Anthony Taino Naiboa, was shot after Naiboa, who is autistic, took the wrong bus home.
In this latest shooting, a witness was reportedly able to provide a description to Tampa police, and the suspect is described as a Black male, 6′ to 6′ 2″ tall, with a thin build and a light complexion.
Police have advised residents within the perimeter to remain indoors until the police have secured the area, and parents have been told not to send their children to school. Other schools in the area are on “lock-in” status, in which outdoor activities have been cancelled but classes will still be held inside.
Authorities are offering a $41,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person responsible. Anyone with information has been asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.