Tampa’s new police chief faces ‘biggest’ case of career after Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA)— Tampa’s newly-appointed police chief Brian Dugan is calling the investigation into three killings in the quiet neighborhood of Seminole Heights the biggest case of his career.

Tuesday marks one month since someone gunned down 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell while he was waiting at a bus stop a few hundred yards from his house—the first of three murders over a 10-day period.

“There’s a job at hand and we’re tasked to keep the city safe,” Dugan said.

Dugan was appointed to the top position Tuesday after servicing as interim chief for the past several months.  In his short tenure, Dugan has already led the department through Hurricane Irma and a high profile murder investigation that has a neighborhood on edge.

“This is a big case.  This is a big deal to the city. We have a neighborhood that’s very scared and we’re working very hard,” Dugan says. “If any good has come out of this, I think the neighborhood and the police department is much closer and people have rallied together.”

Dugan says there aren’t any new developments in the case at this time.

“Because we have such limited information, everything is speculation at this point. We don’t have a lot of information to release,” Dugan says.

Dugan has been on the force for 27 years after working his way up the ranks. He says he patrolled the Seminole Heights area 10 years ago.

He says people across the city have stepped up in support of the neighborhood even through all of the uncertainty.

These are trying times for the world that we live in that has become very divided and I think the police department, we can help build bridges and bring people closer together,” Dugan said.

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