Tampa police arrested 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III on Tuesday and charged him with four counts of murder in a series of fatal shootings that kept the city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood on edge for nearly two months, CNN reported.
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“The real goal is to let the people of Seminole Heights be able to get a good night’s sleep. It’s been 51 days that they’ve been terrorized in their neighborhood and it is about letting these families know that we’re going to bring this person to justice, and letting this neighborhood get some rest,” Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.
The first killing happened on Oct. 9, with the slaying of 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell. Two days later, the suspected gunman shot Monica Hoffa, 32. Anthony Naiboa, 20, became the third victim on Oct. 19, and the police found 60-year-old Ronald Felton’s body gunned down in the streets on Nov. 14. The police believe that a single killer committed the murders but were caution about saying that a serial killer was on the loose. These killings appeared to be random. The victims were fatally shot while walking across a street, standing in a parking lot or walking toward a bus stop.
Authorities said they received a tip on Tuesday from an employee at a McDonald’s, located about three miles from where the killings took place, where Donaldson also worked. The suspect gave his co-worker a gun in a paper bag for safe-keeping, but the co-worker alerted the police. An officer detained Donaldson at the restaurant and called for backup. Investigators believe that Donaldson’s weapon was used in the fatal shootings. He admitted ownership of the gun but denied using it to kill anyone.