TPD on Seminole Heights murders: 'Someone's terrorizing the neighborhood'
SEMINOLE HEIGHTS, Fla. - Tampa police are not ruling out a serial killer in the Seminole Heights neighborhood where three people were found murdered within a span of two weeks.
"Someone's terrorizing the neighborhood," said Tampa Police Interim Chief Brian Dugan at a news conference Friday. "We're still sifting through evidence," Dugan said, "Yes, we think they're related."
Dugan identified a third person killed Thursday night as 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa. His family tells FOX 13 that he had mild autism and they believe he had gotten off at the wrong bus stop accidentally after leaving work and tried to walk home.
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Naiboa was killed about 50 feet away from the bus stop on 15th Street where another man, Benjamin Mitchell, was killed on October 9th. Mitchell was shot and killed while waiting at a bus stop a few hundred yards from his home on N. 15th Street near Hillsborough Avenue.
Tampa police released surveillance video of someone who could be the key to solving Mitchell's murder. The person, seen walking alone, is wearing long pants, a long jacket and a hood and was spotted on the video down the street near where the shooting happened and around the time of the shooting.
On Friday, October 13, Tampa city workers found the body of Monica Hoffa, 32, in an empty field. Tampa police say she was also shot and several neighbors reported hearing gunshots two days earlier, around the time Hoffa was believed to have been murdered. "In each of the shootings, it appears the victim was alone and was not robbed," Tampa police said.
RELATED: Murder victim identified as 32-year-old woman
Chief Dugan says patrol officers who were already canvassing the area heard gunshots and ran toward the sound before finding the body of Naiboa minutes later. "This person, whoever did it, was able to sneak away," Chief Dugan said.
Chief Dugan warned anyone in the area to travel in groups and not to travel alone, and to always be aware of their surroundings, and not looking down at their phone. He also asked everyone in the neighborhood to turn on their porch lights and if they don't have any, police will get them one. "If you're walking alone, you're either a suspect or a potential victim, and that's what they need to remember in this neighborhood," he said.
Chief Dugan asked that anyone with information about who is in the video or any other information about whoever is doing this to come forward before he sent a message to the suspect: "Enough is enough. I don't know what your motive is, I don't know what your problem is. There's been enough carnage," he said.
Crime Stoppers is offering an $18,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect. Anyone with information can call 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) to be eligible for the cash reward. Anyone can also report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com.
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