TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The reward for information to help solve a string of homicides in Seminole Heights has been raised to $100,000, Tampa police said Thursday.
The total stood at $91,000 on Wednesday and, on Thursday, restaurateur Richard Gonzmart stepped up with a $9,000 donation, increasing the reward to $100,000.
“As a community leader I feel a need to help because that extra digit on there, somebody knows him and I think that somebody is going to let the police know who he is,” Gonzmart says.
Tampa police believe one person, likely a man, is behind the killings.
On Wednesday, police released new video of a man seen in the area where Ronald Felton, the fourth victim was gunned down, right before Felton was murdered. Police believe the man in this latest video is the same person seen on surveillance video from the very first murder in this case on Oct. 9, when Benjamin Mitchell was killed.
“When we look at those videos, it really looks like it’s the same person, so we think that’s the person who’s committed four murders,” Tampa police spokesperson Steve Hegarty says.
Jason Colon, a Seminole Heights resident hopes the reward money is enough for someone to come forward with information.
“I think that people need to get their fears aside and say something,” Colon says.
Hegarty says police have received roughly 1,000 tips this week. They expect that number to increase with a larger reward for information that leads to an arrest.
“The support from the community and our law enforcement partners has been inspiring,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “I can’t thank them enough for stepping up. The reward money is truly impressive, and that’s only one of the many ways that people are showing their support.”
“Finding this killer is a community effort and Richard Gonzmart and the Columbia Restaurant Group have always been fantastic community partners who lead by example,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We need to and will find who’s committing these heinous, senseless murders and when we do, it will be because of people like Richard, the Seminole Heights community, Tampa Police Department and our partners in the law enforcement community who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into bringing this killer to justice.”
Anyone with any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873 (TIPS).