Crime

Possible serial killer may have struck again, police say

Police swarm Tampa neighborhood after possible serial killer strikes again

Tampa police placed the Seminole Heights neighborhood after the fourth fatal shooting in the area since early October. The police chief said they are investigating the latest slaying as if it were connected with the earlier killings.
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Tampa police placed the Seminole Heights neighborhood after the fourth fatal shooting in the area since early October. The police chief said they are investigating the latest slaying as if it were connected with the earlier killings.

Tampa police are investigating after a man was shot to death early Tuesday in the Seminole Heights neighborhood and residents are being asked to stay inside, according to reports.

Police are investigating a suspicious death after a 60-year-old man was found at North Nebraska Avenue at East McBerry Street Tuesday morning, according to Spectrum Bay News 9.

The man, identified as Ronald Felton, 60, was crossing the street when someone came up from behind and shot him, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said in a news conference.

Police, though they have limited information, described the suspect as having a thin build and wearing a black baseball cap. Police said they believe he lives in the neighborhood.

A 911 call reporting shots fired in the area came in around 4:51 a.m., according to police. Police arrived within a minute to find Felton’s body.

Dugan said a witness told police had they been there just seconds earlier, they could have stopped the shooting.

“This has to stop. We will hunt this person down until we find them,” Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn said during the news conference. “We need to catch this killer before we have to notify one more family that their loved one is dead.”

Tuesday, police asked residents to stay in their homes and issued a shelter in place order, according to Bay News 9. Several streets were closed as officials searched for the killer. Nebraska Avenue has been closed from Hillsborough to Osborne avenues.

Police also asked residents who own a gun to check their homes and make sure the firearm is still there.

Hillsborough County Schools tweeted Tuesday morning that schools will be open, but students who live within the police perimeter during the investigation should stay home until police secure the scene.

Dugan said investigators are treated the shooting as related to three other fatal shootings in the area until they can determine otherwise.

“We don't know if this is related to the other shootings,” Hegarty told Bay News 9. “But we're treating it as if it is.”

In October, three other people — Benjamin Mitchell, 22, Monica Hoffa, 32, and Anthony Naiboa, 20 — were shot and killed within days of each other in the same neighborhood. The cases remain unsolved.

The latest shooting occurred about four blocks away from where Hoffa was shot and killed on Oct. 11, according to ABC Action News.

Police have been heavily patrolling the area since the investigations began.

Dugan said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been involved since the investigations began more than a month ago and he has called the FBI.

“It’s a team effort from every agency that can possibly help us,” Dugan said.

The investigation is ongoing.

Police are asking residents who may have seen anything or have home surveillance cameras to contact them at (813) 231-6130.

“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,” Hegarty told WTSP.

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