TAMPA, FL — Florida police have confirmed that they believe the fatal shooting of a 20-year-old autistic man who took the wrong bus home from work is linked to two other suspicious deaths in the same neighborhood.
Police say Anthony Naiboa, the third victim, was killed late Thursday.
The second victim, Monica Hoffa, 32, was found dead in a vacant lot in the Tampa-area neighborhood on October 11. The man police believe to be the first victim, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot and killed nearby on October 9 while waiting for a bus.
Police have confirmed that all three homicides took place within a mile radius and the deaths have all happened in the past 11 days. All of the victims were alone and shot with a firearm at night. Police say that none of the victims were acquainted with each other.
Authorities have released grainy surveillance video of a person who they say was spotted walking near the scene of the first killing. He appears to be wearing a hooded shirt, and police have said that they want to talk to him in order to potentially eliminate him as a suspect.
Police have warned residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood not to walk alone at night and to leave porch and other external lights on as a precaution. The department has even offered to provide free light bulbs.Interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference that someone is terrorizing the neighborhood when asked if a possible serial killer could be on the loose. Dugan confirmed that they are treating all three deaths “as though they are related” unless they find out otherwise.
He added that the city refused to be “held hostage” by the killer, saying, “We need everyone to come out at night, turn on their porch lights, and just not tolerate this type of terrorism in a neighborhood.”
They have not released any information on a potential motive for the killings.
Tampa Bay police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest, and urge anyone with video or information that could help the investigation into the three murders to contact them at (813) 231-6130.
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Main photo: Police on the scene in Seminole Heights [Orlando Sentinel (screenshot)]