He was the fourth person shot dead in Seminole Heights in about a month, but those who knew Ronald Felton remember him as someone who lived to help others.
Felton, 60, was killed when someone came up behind him as he was crossing North Nebraska Avenue at East McBerry Street just before 5 a.m. Tuesday and shot him.
Police arrived about a minute of the 911 call reporting shots fired in the area. One witness told police that had the officer just been at the scene five seconds earlier, he could have stopped the shooting from happening.
Felton was leaving the New Seasons Apostolic Church when he was killed. His younger brother, James, told WFLA News Channel 8 Felton helped other members of the congregation feed the homeless when he’s not working.
James went on to say that Felton has a twin brother, who spoke with him before the shooting while Felton was at a bus stop near the church, according to WFLA.
Samuel Washington, Felton’s pastor, told ABC Action News Felton rode his bike to help distribute food to families in need.
Relatives told WTSP that Felton, known as “Ronny,” would give someone the shirt off of his back of they needed it.
Felton was crossing the street to meet someone when he was shot, police said in a news conference Tuesday morning.
Police, though they have limited information, described the suspect in Felton’s death as having a thin build and wearing a black baseball cap. Police said they believe he lives in the neighborhood.
Tuesday, police asked residents to stay in their homes, and Hillsborough County Schools tweeted that while schools were open, students who live within the police perimeter should stay home. Several schools in Hillsborough County were on a lock-in on Tuesday morning.
Police also asked residents who own a gun to check their homes and make sure the firearm is still there
Several streets were closed as officials searched for the killer. Nebraska Avenue has been closed from Hillsborough to Osborne avenues.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said investigators are treated the shooting as related to three other fatal shootings in the area until they can determine otherwise.
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.
Officers have been patrolling the area heavily since the investigations began.
FBI and ATF agents have also been present in the community Tuesday, according to reporters at the scene.