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Tampa 'serial killer' is arrested: McDonald's employee, 24, is charged with FOUR counts of first degree murder after he 'asked his manager to hold a 9mm handgun for him'

'We will hunt this person down until we find him': Residents are ordered to stay indoors after Tampa serial killer strikes for a FOURTH time as 60-year-old man is shot dead

Tampa 'serial killer' case has a new lead

  • Howell Donaldson has been charged with four counts of first degree murder
  • Got a tip from a McDonald's staff member Tuesday about a man with a gun
  • Chief Brian Dugan had earlier said that they brought someone in for questioning
  • The attacks began on October 9 when Benjamin Mitchell was shot dead
  • Two days later Monica Hoffa was shot, and October 19 Anthony Naiboa was killed
  • The next attack didn't happen until November 14 when Ronald Felton was shot
Howell Donaldson's mugshot released by the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office

Howell Donaldson's mugshot released by the Hillsborough County Sheriffs Office

The alleged Tampa serial killer has been arrested and charged with murdering four people.

Howell Donaldson was arrested after police received a tip from a McDonald's staff member Tuesday afternoon about a man with a gun and brought him in for questioning. 

The 24-year-old was brought in after a gun was recovered from the scene, according to WFLA

Donaldson, who goes by Trai because it is a family name, has been charged with four counts of first degree murder. He is accused of fatally shooting Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton. 

Gail Rogers works at the McDonald's with Donaldson, and told The Tampa Bay Times Donaldson walked into the restaurant in his work uniform and asked the manager to hold his loaded 9mm handgun.

He then walked to Amscot to get a payday loan, and the manager had Rogers alert a female officer in the McDonald's about what had just happened. That officer then called for backup.

Rogers told the Times that Donaldson had worked at that McDonald's for about four months, and said he arrived at work driving a red Ford Mustang. The car is believed to belong to his father. 

Donaldson was born in North Carolina but spent most of his life in Tampa before going to play college basketball at St John's University in New York.  

On Tuesday afternoon Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters that a man was brought in for questioning in connection with the murders. The killings started 51 days ago in the city's Seminole Height's neighborhood. 

Officers are processing possible evidence and a red Mustang (pictured) at a McDonald's in Ybor City in Tampa

Officers are processing possible evidence and a red Mustang (pictured) at a McDonald's in Ybor City in Tampa

Howell Donaldson was arrested after police received a tip from a McDonald's staff member Tuesday afternoon about a man with a gun and brought him in for questioning

Howell Donaldson was arrested after police received a tip from a McDonald's staff member Tuesday afternoon about a man with a gun and brought him in for questioning

Donaldson, who goes by Trei because it is a family name, has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and accused of fatally shooting Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton
The 24-year-old was brought in after a gun was recovered from the scene. He is pictured with his mother and sister

Donaldson, who goes by Trai because it is a family name, has been charged with four counts of first degree murder and accused of fatally shooting Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton. He is pictured right with his mother and sister

Gail Rogers works at the McDonald's with Donaldson (pictured is the McDonald's where he worked), and told The Tampa Bay Times Donaldson walked into the restaurant in his work uniform and asked the manager to hold his loaded 9mm handgun

Gail Rogers works at the McDonald's with Donaldson (pictured is the McDonald's where he worked), and told The Tampa Bay Times Donaldson walked into the restaurant in his work uniform and asked the manager to hold his loaded 9mm handgun

Speaking after the arrest, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said: 'Fifty one days ago I said this was a struggle between good and evil. 

'Well, tonight goodness has won.' 

Earlier this week police connected the killings based on their methodology - meaning they were all killed in the same way, which is common for serial killers. 

 Earlier on Tuesday Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters that a man was brought in for questioning in connection with the murders. The killings started 51 days ago in the city's Seminole Height's neighborhood

 Earlier on Tuesday Police Chief Brian Dugan told reporters that a man was brought in for questioning in connection with the murders. The killings started 51 days ago in the city's Seminole Height's neighborhood

The suspect, who is pictured in a surveillance video released after the attacks, is described as a thin light-skinned black man between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches
Because all four victims were killed in the same way there are fears that a serial killer in on the loose

The suspect, who is pictured in a surveillance video released after the attacks, is described as a thin light-skinned black man between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches. Because all four victims were killed in the same way there are fears that a serial killer in on the loose 

Serial killer caught on camera moments before 4th Tampa killing

Each of the four victims was killed but not robbed while they walked along at night within a half-mile area of the Seminole Heights neighborhood.  

The victims, though, didn't have any common similarities based on race, age or occupation. 

The first attack happened on October 9 when Benjamin Mitchell was shot dead after getting off a bus in the neighborhood at night.  

Two days after Mitchell, 22, was shot, and Monica Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. And on October 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. Police patrolling nearby heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene to find Naiboa dead. 

The first attack happened on October 9 when Benjamin Mitchell was shot dead after getting off a bus in the neighborhood at night
Two days after Mitchell, 22, was shot, and Monica Hoffa, 32, was gunned down

The first attack happened on October 9 when Benjamin Mitchell (left) was shot dead after getting off a bus in the neighborhood at night. Two days after Mitchell, 22, was shot, Monica Hoffa, (right) 32, was gunned down

On October 19, Anthony Naiboa, (left) 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job
Then on November 14 Ronald Felton (right) was crossing at Nebraska and Wilder when a man dressed in all black came up behind him and shot him

On October 19, Anthony Naiboa, (left) 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. Then on November 14 Ronald Felton (right) was crossing at Nebraska and Wilder when a man dressed in all black came up behind him and shot him

Each of the four victims was killed but not robbed while they walked along at night within a half-mile are of the Seminole Heights neighborhood

Each of the four victims was killed but not robbed while they walked along at night within a half-mile are of the Seminole Heights neighborhood

Tampa fears suspected serial killer strikes again

Then in late October Dugan released a blurry video of a suspect, who can be seen wearing a hooded jacket and walking down a street near one of the shootings. 

He then released another video on November 16 of who he believes is the same man, who was present near the fatal shooting of Ronald Felton. 

Felton was the last of the four victims to be killed, and was shot on November 14.

Police said the victim, a construction worker and father of three adult children, was crossing at Nebraska and Wilder when a man dressed in all black came up behind him and shot him. 

Dugan described the suspect in the video as a thin light-skinned black man between 6 feet and 6 feet 2 inches.  

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‘Bring his head to me,’ Tampa mayor tells officers hunting serial killer as police release video of hooded figure running near the scene of first of three fatal shootings

Police have told people living in this area to stay inside while they hunt for the killer. An all-clear will be given when it's safe to leave their homes again 

  • Gunshots were heard just before 5am in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida
  • Police then found the body of 60-year-old Ronald Felton 
  • The same neighborhood was the scene of three fatal shootings last month 
  • Police say they are investigating the death as being related to the Seminole Heights Killer until they know otherwise  
  • Residents have been told to stay indoors while police search for a suspect 
  • Last month, police released surveillance footage of a person of interest in the first killing

Police believe a serial killer in Tampa has struck for a fourth time after a 60-year-old man was found shot dead.

Ronald Felton was gunned down at around 4:51am Tuesday as he crossed the street on the way to feed the homeless at a local church where he volunteers. 

Police said the victim, a construction worker and father of three adult children, was crossing at Nebraska and Wilder when a man dressed in all black came up behind him and shot him.

His murder, in the city's Seminole Heights neighborhood, is close to where three other people were murdered in apparently random shootings.

A body was found early Tuesday in a Florida neighborhood where three other people have died in apparently random shootings

A body was found early Tuesday in a Florida neighborhood where three other people have died in apparently random shootings

Above, police cover up the body after it was discovered early Tuesday morning  

Above, police cover up the body after it was discovered early Tuesday morning  

Ronald Felton, 60, has been identified as the victim 

Ronald Felton, 60, has been identified as the victim 

At an 8am press conference, cops conceded the killer was likely the same person in all four cases.

'It's very unfortunate here that we've had another one,' said Police Chief Brian Dugan.

'We will hunt this person down until we find them,' Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Tuesday morning.

Police believe the killer may still be in the area so they're ordering everyone in a 1.5 by 1-mile area to lock their doors and stay inside until an all-clear is given. 

Officers arrived within seconds of the gunshots, as they had been patrolling in the area already.  

'We want to talk with as many people as we can, we don't think whoever did this has gone very far at this point,' Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty told reporters this morning. 

Residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood believe they are being targeted by a serial killer. Last month, three people were shot dead in a 10-day period 

Police have told people living in this area to stay inside while they hunt for the killer. An all-clear will be given when it's safe to leave their homes again 

Police have told people living in this area to stay inside while they hunt for the killer. An all-clear will be given when it's safe to leave their homes again 

Police are asking residents to call in with any bit of information they may have on the killer. 

They're also asking residents to check their gun safes to make sure their guns are all accounted for. If they are not, they are to immediately call the police. 

It's believed the killer may be a resident of the murder-ravaged neighborhood.

The difference between this incident and the previous three is that the victim was killed in the early morning, and not at night. 

That leads officers to believe that the killer may be hiding out in the neighborhood. 

Witnesses said they saw a black man in his early 20s wearing a dark hooded jacket fleeing the area after the fatal attack. In a subsequent news release,  police described the suspect as a black male, 6-foot to 6-foot-2, with a thin build and light complexion and armed with a large black pistol. 

He was last seen wearing all black clothing and wearing a baseball cap. 

Three people were fatally shot in the neighborhood during a 10-day span last month, leading to increased police patrols. All were alone and had gotten off a bus when they were gunned downed at night for no apparent reason. None were robbed.

Body found in Florida linked to a suspected serial killer
Benjamin Mitchell (pictured) was the first victim of the serial killer. He was gunned down on October 9, moments after getting off a bus 

Benjamin Mitchell (pictured) was the first victim of the serial killer. He was gunned down on October 9, moments after getting off a bus 

Police released this footage of a person of interest in the first killing last month 

Police released this footage of a person of interest in the first killing last month 

Two days later, Monica Hoffa (left) was also shot after getting off a bus. On October 22, Anthony Naiboa, 20 (right), was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job

Tampa cops release CCTV footage of suspected serial killer
 

Police have previously released surveillance videos of a hooded person of interest from a prior shooting. In a security video taken moments after Benjamin Mitchell became the first victim on October 9, the person of interest is running from the scene.

'I've come up with four reasons why this person is running,' Police Chief Brian Dugan said last month. 'One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they're out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots. And number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell.'

Two days after Mitchell, 22, was shot, Monica Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. And on October 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. Police patrolling nearby heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene to find Naiboa dead.

A makeshift memorial for victim Anthony Naiboa is seen above on October 24 

A makeshift memorial for victim Anthony Naiboa is seen above on October 24 

Mayor Buckhorn told officers at a briefing last month to hunt the suspect down and 'bring his head to me.'

Seminole Heights is a working-class neighborhood northeast of downtown Tampa that's slowly becoming gentrified. Run-down homes sit next to renovated, historic bungalows, and trendy restaurants have sprung up near auto body shops.

Residents and business owners have said there are car burglaries and fights between kids, but nothing like this.

A reward of $41,000 is being offered for information leading to the killer's arrest.  

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Police have cautioned that they aren't sure from the footage of the individual's race, or even whether it is a man or a woman

  • The new video shows a 'person of interest' fleeing immediately after the killing 
  • Two men and one woman were fatally gunned down seemingly at random
  • The heartbroken father of a victim of the serial killer has spoken out
  • Investigators have turned to FBI profilers for theories about the killer

Tampa police hunting a suspected serial killer have been ordered by the city’s mayor to ‘bring his head to me’.

Bob Buckhorn told officers, who are hunting the suspect in three fatal shootings, during a roll call ‘let’s go get this done’, as new footage was release of the suspect.

The new footage was taken the night of the first shooting and it shows a suspect wearing a hooded top running away from the neighbourhood immediately after the shooting.

Individual walks very close to scene of Tampa serial killer crime

The figure, described by detectives as a ‘person on interest’ is similar to a person shown in a video released earlier by police but with is seen running in longer strides.

‘I’ve come up with four reasons why this person is running,’ said Interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, the Orlando Sentinal reported.

‘One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they’re out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots. And number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell.’

The new video comes as the heartbroken, outraged father of a 32-year-old woman shot dead by a suspected Tampa serial killer is crying out for community help in tracking the individual down.

Police believe there could be four reasons why the suspect is seen fleeing. They maybe late for dinner, exercising, heard gunshots or just murdered Benjamin Mitchell

Police believe there could be four reasons why the suspect is seen fleeing. They maybe late for dinner, exercising, heard gunshots or just murdered Benjamin Mitchell

Kenny Hoffa, who lost his daughter, Monica Hoffa, after she was fatally gunned down while walking to a friend's house in Seminole Heights on October 11, is pleading with locals to take part in the desperate search for the mystery murderer.

'There's two other families that are suffering just like our family is suffering and those two families need vengeance just like we do,' Hoffa said, while speaking with WFTS.

Two men were gunned down in the same neighborhood over the course of just 11 days. Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, was killed October 9 and Anthony Naiboa, 20, on October 19.

Police say the victims have no personal connections and appear to be randomly targeted. 

Kenny Hoffa, the heartbroken father to a victim of the Tampa serial killer has spoken out, pleading the public for help in finding the community's suspected serial killer

Kenny Hoffa, the heartbroken father to a victim of the Tampa serial killer has spoken out, pleading the public for help in finding the community's suspected serial killer

Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, was killed October 9
Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was found dead on October 13
Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed October 19

Victims (left to right): Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, was killed October 9; Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was found dead on October 13; Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed October 19

Kenny Hoffa (right) lost his daughter, Monica Hoffa (left) after she was fatally gunned down by a mystery gunman while walking to a friend's house in Seminole Heights October 11

Kenny Hoffa (right) lost his daughter, Monica Hoffa (left) after she was fatally gunned down by a mystery gunman while walking to a friend's house in Seminole Heights October 11

Hoffa told the news station: 'I am angrier than I've ever been in my life there is just no words can tell you how upset I am.

'I need that Seminole Heights community to stand up and I need them to point out who that man is,' he added.

'I know they are afraid ... I know people are probably worried that they are going to be next. But, people need to step out and they to identify this guy so we can get him off the street.'

Aside from a grief-stricken father, Monica Hoffa leaves behind a deaf mother - whom her father said his loving daughter was of constant care and support to.

Local police since released a video of a hooded person of interest in the three murders that have terrorized a quiet neighborhood, in a desperate plea for information about the suspected serial murders.

Police release video of suspect in fatal bus stop shooting

A $25,000 reward is offered to the public for information about the three sidewalk shootings in Seminole Heights, after desperate investigators called in FBI profilers for assistance in the case. 

Cops conducting saturation patrols in the area even heard the gunshots that killed the latest victim, Naiboa, but the killer eluded them.

The eerie surveillance video from the first shooting shows a tall, thin person walking with a distinctive loping gait, but police have cautioned that they aren't sure from the footage of the individual's race, or even whether it is a man or a woman.

Profilers have stepped in to fill the gap, offering their expert theories: the killer is likely male, perhaps in his 20s, possibly an ethnic minority. 

The random slayings may be motivated by anger and the thrill of outwitting investigators.  

The killer probably has a 'deep and personal relationship with the area,' writes Enzo Yaksic, co-founder of Northeastern University's Atypical Homicide Research Group, in a profile he shared with DailyMail.com 

Eerie surveillance video from the first shooting shows a tall, thin person walking with a distinctive loping gait
Police have cautioned that they aren't sure from the footage of the individual's race, or even whether it is a man or a woman

Eerie surveillance the first video released about the first shooting shows a tall, thin person walking with a distinctive loping gait. Police have cautioned that they aren't sure from the footage of the individual's race, or even whether it is a man or a woman

The fatal sidewalk shootings all took place within blocks of each other in Seminole Heights

The fatal sidewalk shootings all took place within blocks of each other in Seminole Heights

The killer appears to blitz strangers with a gun, and escapes quickly on foot or bicycle, suggesting a reasonably fit individual aged 21 to 35.

Predicting the race of a suspect is tricky. The victims have included several races, and Yaksic believes that given the area's demographics the killer is likely an ethnic minority.

As the neighborhood has been gentrifying, Yaksic suspects that class tensions may play a role in the killer's psychology.

'The disparity between the offender's perceived lower status may be driving his motivations to victimize those from other statuses,' Yaksic wrote. 

Since the murders took place late in the day or at night, the 'timing could indicate that the offender is employed during the daylight hours in some menial capacity based on his potential age range,' the profile added.

Yaksic, who is not part of the investigation but has shared his profile with Tampa police,wrote he believes that the killer 'is not mentally ill or unstable and is reacting to a set of internal processes that he may have verbalized to acquaintances or relatives.'

The brief clip of the person of interest shows the baggy dark-colored top and white pants. The person appears to be examining a cell phone

The brief clip of the person of interest shows the baggy dark-colored top and white pants. The person appears to be examining a cell phone

Cops blanketed the area after the initial slayings, but it was not enough to prevent the sidewalk murder of the third victim. Officers nearby heard the shots ring out

Cops blanketed the area after the initial slayings, but it was not enough to prevent the sidewalk murder of the third victim. Officers nearby heard the shots ring out

The site of the third shooting was just a block from where the first victim was slain - and police said it was right outside the first victim's home

The site of the third shooting was just a block from where the first victim was slain - and police said it was right outside the first victim's home

Experts warn that profiling is not the magical art depicted in shows like 'Criminal Minds' - at best, profilers supplement the traditional investigative work of police on the ground.

Though police have been grudging to publicly call these murders the work of a serial killer, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said on Friday: 'We can call it what we want... if that brings attention to it, that's fine.'

The first victim, Mitchell, was shot on October 9 near a bus stop a block away from the most recent shooting, and died from his injuries at a hospital. Cops said he had no criminal record.

Days later, Hoffa was found dead on October 13, although police believe she was killed two days earlier. Her body was found in a vacant lot by a city worker.

Naiboa, the third victim, was not even supposed to be in the neighborhood when he was shot on the night of October 19.

Cops said that Anthony Naiboa, the third victim, had mistakenly gotten on the wrong bus leaving work and was not even supposed to be in the neighborhood when he was killed

Cops said that Anthony Naiboa, the third victim, had mistakenly gotten on the wrong bus leaving work and was not even supposed to be in the neighborhood when he was killed

He had autism, and police say he took the wrong bus home from work. Realizing his mistake, he got off in Seminole Heights and was walking to a different stop when he was gunned down. 

Police on saturation patrols in the area rushed over and found him dead on the scene. 

The three shootings took place within a few thousand feet of each other in the residential neighborhood. 

All three victims were bus riders and all three were shot at or near bus stops. Mitchell and Naiboa both attended Middleton High School. 

Authorities have said repeatedly that the three victims were not criminals and that there is no personal connection between them. 

'You can imagine the frustration of these officers to hear gunshots and not be able to find this person,' Dugan said at the conference. 

'He was in the prime of his life and was taken instantly.' 

'This is, you know, very frustrating,' Dugan said. 'I go from frustration to anger on these unsolved homicides. And now, we have someone who is terrorizing the neighborhood. It's just difficult to see this happen.' 

Police have urged residents in the area to keep their exterior lights on and maintain a public presence on the streets - though the department warns against walking alone at night.

'Do cookouts, walk your dog,' said Dugan. 'We're not going to be held hostage by whoever's doing this.' 

The chief also had a message for the killer:  'Enough is enough.'

'I don't know what your motive is,' he said. 'I don't know what your problem is. There's been enough carnage. You have severely affected some families.' 

Anyone with information about the murders is urged to contact Tampa Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.  

Tampa police identify third victim of 'serial killer'

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Comment by mr1stroke on November 29, 2017 at 12:10pm

ok if this is true, why is the coworking talking now, how much does the coworker know and how long?

Comment by rashid rourk on November 29, 2017 at 9:56am
Let's wait and see how it plays out, remember the Atlanta child murders back in the 80's.
Comment by Will on November 16, 2017 at 1:50pm

Same definition, person perpetrating a series of killings. The psychological aspects of it are optional, though this person must have something wrong with their head to be doing this crap. Sad as hell.

Comment by mr1stroke on November 14, 2017 at 1:48pm

this is like the son of sam, its not a problem the police can solve alone, residents need to arm their selves, have a secret neighborhood watch and start hunting him down with the cops, otherwise there will be more killing before they caught him since now he know they are looking for him and he can blend in with every one

Comment by Still waters on November 14, 2017 at 11:34am
Ok I guess the definition of a serial killer has changed?

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