New video released of Seminole Heights murder suspect, reward for information up to $91K

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa police released new video on Wednesday of a suspect in the recent Seminole Heights murders.

Police Chief Brian Dugan said the video was taken right before the murder of 60-year-old Ronald Felton on Tuesday morning. He believes it’s the same person seen on video near the scene where Benjamin Mitchell, the first murder victim, was killed last month.

Dugan now says he is calling the person in the video a suspect in at least two of the Seminole Heights murders.

“I don’t believe in coincidence that the same person was around the time two people were murdered,” he said.

“We need to know who this person is,” he added. “We don’t need speculation. We don’t need profiles. We need names.”

Officers are not letting up in their search for the suspect, and are asking residents for help identify him before he strikes again.

“We need this to come to a stop and we need to catch whoever is doing this,” Dugan said.

The reward for information that leads police to the killer is now up to $91,000.

Police continue to patrol in the community one day after the killer shot and killed a fourth victim.

At 4:51 a.m., Ronald Felton stepped outside the New Season Apostolic Church where he was volunteering to feed the homeless and was shot at least once in the back of the head as he crossed the street to meet someone. Police arrived within seconds of the shooting and found Felton deceased in the street.

“This individual is striking on people who are alone, under the cover of darkness and they’re probably preoccupied,” Dugan said.

This killing was different because witness actually saw the shooter and gave the following description:

  • Black male
  • 6’ to 6’ 2” tall
  • Thin build
  • Light complexion
  • Wore all black clothing
  • Carried a large black pistol

Chief Dugan said the department received 450 tips yesterday following Felton’s murder. The overall total number of tips they have received is 2,300.

Tampa police officers, FDLE officers, FBI agents and ATF agents went door-to-door through Seminole Heights Tuesday looking for the shooter. Roads were closed and schools were put on lock-in status. But, the killer managed to slip away.

Police believe the murderer knows the Seminole Heights area well.

“I believe this person lives in this neighborhood,” said Dugan.

He’s asking people to pay attention to what’s going on, and pleading with people to take a closer look at any surveillance cameras outside their homes.

“Look at your home surveillance cameras,” he said. “Do it very carefully. Sometimes you can miss something. Watch that video several times.”

Police say the community has been giving them names, and that they have talked to those people.

“What’s good about names instead of speculation and profiles is that it lets us eliminate people and narrow down our search,” Dugan said.

He’s asking everyone to report anything they think could be suspicious.

“Was there someone that you know that should’ve been home, should’ve been at work, should’ve been somewhere that they weren’t around that time (of the murder)? We need to know,” he said.

Police also say the killer might possibly be using a gun that he has easy access to. Chief Dugan asked Seminole Heights residents who own guns to check and make sure their guns are at home. If a gun is missing, call TPD.

“Are they taking a loved one’s firearm and going and doing this?” said Dugan.

Anyone who may have any information should call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.

The murders have the community on edge as leaders vow to find the killer.

“We cannot let this drive a wedge between us,” Dugan said. “We’re not willing to hand over the key to the city to whoever is doing this.”

“This is personal,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn at a news conference Tuesday morning. “This has got to stop. We will hunt this person down until we find them.”

The murder Tuesday of Ronald Felton happened just blocks away from a memorial for the three previous Seminole Heights murder victims.

All three victims, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa and 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa were found within one mile of each other.

Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was waiting for a bus on North 15th Street and Frierson Avenue when he was shot on Oct. 9. He died from his injuries. Witnesses described seeing a black man in his early 20’s, wearing a dark hooded jacket, running from the area where this shooting took place.

Police also released video of a person of interest in the case who was recorded by surveillance cameras running away from the scene. Watch the video here.

The body of Monica Hoffa, 32, was found in a vacant lot in the 1000 block of New Orleans Avenue. She was shot and killed on Oct. 13.

Anthony Naiboa, 20, had just gotten off the bus and was walking north on 15th Street in the area of Wilder Avenue when he was shot and killed on Oct. 19.

The reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect now stands at $41,000. Anyone who has information regarding the suspect(s) and is seeking the reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-8477, report anonymously online or send a tip using the P3 Tips Mobile application.

 

RELATED COVERAGE: 4th PERSON MURDERED IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS –

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