Neighborhood on edge as police search for clues in 2 Seminole Heights murders

A memorial for Benjanmin Edward Mitchell.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Mike Sklarz takes his dog Sadie on frequent walks around their Seminole Height’s neighborhood, but right now, Tampa police are urging Sklarz and others in the area to not walk alone after dark.

Two murders that happened in Seminole Heights last week have Sklarz and his neighbors on edge.

“It’s nerve-racking just because I’m so used to being in this neighborhood just walking around freely and the thought that something like that could possibly be going on here, it’s scary,” Sklarz said.

Tampa police said Benjamin Edward Mitchell was gunned down near a bus stop at 15th Street and East Frierson Avenue on October 9. A few days later, on Friday the 13th, the body of Monica Hoffa was discovered by a city landscaping crew in a vacant lot on E. New Orleans Avenue.

A memorial for Monica Hoffa.

Investigators don’t believe Mitchell and Hoffa are connected in any way, but they do believe they were killed by the same person.

Linda Smith lives in the area and is also concerned.

“The sad thing about it, three days in a row, where they found that lady’s body, me and my son walked past it and didn’t even know she was there,” said Smith. “It’s so scary and you out walking and trying to enjoy yourself and somebody got evil in their heart to be going around and be bothering innocent people.”

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