FHP troopers to begin patrols in Seminole Heights today

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) —  Today Florida Highway Patrol Troopers from across the state will be heading to the Tampa Bay area to help the Tampa Police Department with patrols in Seminole Heights.

“What that does is allow us to protect the rest of the city too. That’s what people need to realize, we are intense in one neighborhood, but we have the rest of the city,” said Tampa Police Department Chief Brian Dugan.

As the investigation into the Seminole Heights killing enters the sixth week, Chief Dugan says he is no longer frustrated, he is mad.

Chief Dugan and his officers are not stopping until the killer is caught.

Over the last month, four people who police say are not connected have been shot and killed  — but not robbed — while walking alone at night within a half-mile area in Seminole Heights.

“We had a Monday and a Wednesday. Then it was 8 days later on a Thursday, and then 26 days later we had Ronald Felton murdered,” said Chief Dugan.

The Tampa Police Department has received more than 3,600 tips.

“The amount of surveillance video that people have given us, it is just a very slow process that several people have to look at to make sure you are not missing anything. It has to be watched in real time, then you watch it over and over again,” said Chief Dugan.

Chief Dugan said that over the last six weeks, every time the phone rings he has paused.

“You just never know what to expect. There is part of the dread of ‘Let’s hope it is not another’ but it is also that hope of maybe, ‘We got the guy’,” said Chief Dugan.

The chief said detectives are making progress. Reviewing all of the tips has allowed them to rule out some possible suspects.

Tampa police have been out in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in full force. As the search continues, other law enforcement have also stepped in to help.

“It’s been an entire bay area effort, from Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to Sheriff Chad Chronister in Hillsborough County,” Chief Dugan said.

“The Tampa Police Department, we own it. It’s our job, it’s our investigation but we’ve reached out. We’ve had FBI and ATF involved since the beginning and it’s really a group effort of so many different agencies.”

Monday night there will be a dinner to thank first responders.

With law enforcement, from all over the state, working around the clock to solve the Seminole Heights murders the community wants to say ‘Thank You.’

The dinner is not open to the public.

The reward for information leading to the arrest of a suspect has grown to $100,000. 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.

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