TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Reginald Felton spoke to his twin brother Ronald on the phone early Tuesday morning. When he tried to call him back and there was no answer, Reginald knew something was wrong.
Ronald Felton, 60, had been killed in cold blood as he walked across Nebraska Avenue in Tampa to help feed the homeless at a local church just before 5 a.m.
Reginald had tried to warn Ronald about being out at that time of the morning in a neighborhood on edge, because a serial killer had claimed the lives of three victims.
“I talked to him, but he got his own way, he still go out at that time of the morning,” said Felton.
He soon learned his brother had become the killer’s fourth victim.
“We got to just keep going on, keep praying and hold our head up,” said Felton.
His sister and the entire family are in shock.
“I’ve been watching the serial killer news and watching, listening, praying and for that to happen to my brother, to be shot four times at close range, that’s hard,” said Linda Cunningham, wiping away tears as she spoke.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says his entire police department is focused on catching the killer.
“The men and women of the Tampa Police Department, this is personal. They’re not going to stop. They haven’t stopped for a month. We have saturated this area with police officers and we will continue to do this,” said Buckhorn.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan says his officers were on scene just moments after Felton was gunned down. A witness told him his officers had just missed the killer.
“She had told me when I spoke to her, she said ‘if your officer had been there five seconds earlier, they would have seen this.’ Now I don’t know if the time frame was that short but it does show that we had a large presence out here and we are quickly responding,” said Dugan.
Tampa police SWAT teams, joined by a FBI SWAT team and ATF agents, flooded the area, going home to home in a painstaking and dangerous search.
Dugan is convinced the killer is nearby.
“I believe this person lives in this neighborhood and we need everyone’s cooperation. We need everyone to pay attention to what’s going on in their neighborhood,” said the newly appointed police chief, who also warned people who live in the area to stay inside.
“We’re asking everybody to stay inside right now until we are able to clear the scene. We need to talk to everyone who heard anything about this time, who saw anything that they may deem suspicious. There is no little detail that can be left unsaid here,” said Dugan.
Tampa police are treating Felton’s murder as the fourth of a serial killer that has stalked the Seminole Heights area for weeks.
“We think by the proximity and the manner which it’s done, that’s how we are able to link them together,” said Dugan.
Mayor Buckhorn says the search will go on until the killer is caught.
“This has got to stop and we will hunt this person down until we find them,” said Buckhorn.
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