Florida police have made an arrest in the case of a suspected serial killer believed to have taken the lives of four people in one neighborhood.
A local at a McDonald’s in Tampa, Fla., called police after seeing a gun in a bag belonging to Howell Donaldson III, 24, according to a police report. Officers responded to the scene, and Donaldson was brought in for questioning. Though an investigation is currently underway, police said they gathered enough evidence to formally charge Donaldson with four counts of first-degree murder.
Police Chief Brian Dugan and Mayor Bob Buckhorn revealed in a press conference that the department received over 5,000 tips regarding the case.
Tampa police began to suspect that the suspicious deaths of three people were linked after they died in in the same area within 10 days of each other. As Rare previously reported: “The first murder occurred on Oct. 9, when Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot at a bus stop. Four days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was found dead in a parking lot, and on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed while walking down the street.”
The fourth victim, Ronald Felton, 60, was killed in front of witnesses only two blocks away from a memorial for Mitchell, Hoffa and Naiboa. Felton was walking across the street to meet a friend when he was shot from behind.
The Tampa Bay Police Department gathered and released security camera footage to aid in their search. The video showed an unidentified individual wearing a hoodie while walking and running in an area around the same time one of the victims, Mitchell, was shot and killed.
Buckhorn previously told police in a press conference, “Bring [the shooter’s] head to me,” bluntly promising police would “hunt this son of a bitch down until [they] catch him.”
“I am overjoyed right now. I am shaking right now because, like, I should be. My hands are sweaty. I am just very joyed that we caught this killer and got him off the streets,” said Robert Hoffa, an uncle of victim Monica Hoffa, of the arrest.