TAMPA, FL — The man who was gunned down early Monday morning in Tampa, Florida, could be the fourth victim of an apparent serial killer in a string of shootings that have terrorized the community, police said.
Police have launched a manhunt in the Seminole Heights neighborhood where three people were shot to death over an 11-day period in October.
“This has got to stop,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said today in a press conference. “We will hunt this person down until we find them.”
“We are treating it as though it is related until we rule otherwise,” interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.
The latest victim was identified as Ronald Felton, 60. Friends and family told investigators that Felton had plans to feed the homeless at a local church when someone came up behind him and shot him.
The FBI went door to door and quizzed residents, and many of them admitted that they have been living in fear following the killings.
The suspect in the killing has been described as a slim black man, about six feet to six foot two inches tall, with a light complexion, authorities said. He was reportedly carrying a large black pistol and was last seen wearing all black clothing.
The neighborhood was put in lockdown by authorities for a large part of the day on Monday. Dugan revealed that there had been a witness who claimed that police missed the killer by “five seconds.”
The first shooting victim was 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, who was shot and killed steps from his home while waiting for a bus at North 15th Street at Frierson Avenue on October 9.
Two days later, the body of 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was found about half a mile from Mitchell. Officials say they believe that she was murdered on October 11.
On October 19, Anthony Naiboa, a 20-year-old man with autism, was killed in the southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood after taking the wrong bus home from work.
All three killings remain unsolved, and police believe that all three are connected.
Police had previously released surveillance video of a person of interest, who has been described as a slender individual wearing pants and a hooded windbreaker who was seen walking near one of the crime scenes, flipping his cell phone — and then appearing to run in the other direction.
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Main photo: Doorbell camera footage from a resident of the Seminole Heights neighborhood of the FBI conducting door to door interviews [ABC News (screenshot)]