TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Tampa Police Department released new video on Oct. 26 related to the ongoing investigation into a string of murders in Seminole Heights.
Tampa police have been trying to figure out who killed three people in the neighborhood within 10 days and a fourth person about a month later. All four victims, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa and 60-year-old Ronald Felton were found within about one mile of each other.
Early in the investigation, detectives released a video showing a person walking in the area before the first murder happened on Oct. 9. Two weeks later, police released a second video of the same person running away from the area where the first murder happened.
Police Chief Brian Dugan says he is now confident calling them a person of interest.
“I’ve come up with four reasons why this person is running,” Dugan said during a news conference. “One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they’re out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots. And No. 4, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell.”
“Why after this long, we’ve had this video out there for so long, why have they not come forward?” Dugan added.
While showing the videos, Dugan pointed out the person flipping their phone while walking and called it significant.
“I have tried to do that myself several times and have dropped my phone,” Dugan said. “I’m not a millennial, I’m not part of the selfie generation, I don’t know if that is common for that. But I can tell you I’ve asked other people to do it and they’ve dropped their phones.”
“That might be a habit of this person,” Chief Dugan added. “At this point, everything is a clue, everything is a speculation.”
Dugan said they believe the person has ties to the neighborhood. They’re asking anyone who might be able to identify the person to come forward.
“This is a homicide investigation. We need names, not speculation,” he said. “We need people to tell us ‘This is who I think it is.’ Not a broad range of age and suspicion.”
Dugan also announced the reward for information in the case is up to $35,000 thanks to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
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