Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Fourth person shot dead in Tampa neighborhood, possibly by serial killer

Fourth person shot dead in Tampa neighborhood, possibly by serial killer

He was the fourth person shot dead in Seminole Heights in about a month, but those who knew Ronald Felton remember him as someone who lived to help others.

For almost a month, there seemed to be a reprieve from the mysterious killings that paralyzed Seminole Heights, a community in north Tampa.

A body has been found in a Florida neighborhood where three other people have died in apparently random shootings.

At 4:51 a.m. on Tuesday, Tampa police officers responded to North Nebraska Ave and East McBerry Street after receiving a report of shots heard in the area.

But a week went by without incident.

"This has got to stop", Mayor Bob Buckhorn said at the new conference to the Tampa Bay Times.

Tampa police found a man, whom police identified as Ronald Felton, 60, dead before 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said it is extremely possible that the killer - or killers - live in the neighborhood. "And right now we are treating it as though it is related until we can rule otherwise".

They say Felton was crossing the street to meet someone when a gunman came up behind him and shot him. Officers were on scene within one minute, he said, and they have since saturated the area, going door-to-door in search of witnesses and surveillance video. The suspect is believed to be armed with a large black pistol and was last seen wearing all black clothes and a baseball cap.

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Dugan believes the suspect lives in the neighborhood, and he urged residents to be vigilant. "We think by their proximity and the manner it was done, they are linked".

Benjamin Mitchell, an aspiring musician and community college student, was shot while standing alone at a bus stop, police said.

A third victim, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa, was killed on October 19.

No more than a week later, police announced they found the body of 32-year-old Monica Caridad Hoffa near the intersection of East New Orleans Avenue and North 10th Street. According to his father, Naiboa, who has a mild form of autism, had probably gotten on a different bus after his usual route was shut down and was unfamiliar with Seminole Heights.

On Oct. 9, victim Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was waiting for a bus on North 15th Street and Frierson Avenue.

Any Seminole Heights resident who owns a gun should also verify its location.

Steve Zinder, the incoming neighborhood association president, said he was woken up by the police helicopters.

The latest killing, he said, occurred less than a mile south of his home - within a block of his office. "It does affect your thinking". "We're saying it's related to the other Seminole Heights murders". "We hope to catch him before he gets outside the area".

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