A 24-year-old man suspected of being the serial killer who fatally shot four people in Seminole Heights, Florida, was captured by authorities, according to Tampa police.
The search for the suspected killed took 51 days and police received over 5,000 tips from Florida residents attempting to aid in the arrest of the murderer. Then, on Tuesday, police received a final tip that brought their search to an end, reported WFLA.
“We are pleased to announce that tonight we will be making an arrest in the Seminole Heights murders,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan during a news conference.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, was arrested after police received a tip from a coworker who worked with the suspect at a Ybor City McDonald’s, reported the Tampa Bay Times.
According to the unidentified coworker, when Donaldson came into the McDonald’s, where he worked for the last two months, he asked a manager to hold onto his semiautomatic pistol, which was loaded.
The coworker then approached a police officer, who looked into Donaldson’s bag and saw the reported firearm. The officer called for backup and Donaldson was detained for questioning.
Donaldson is accused in the murders of Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton. All of the vicitms were shot within a half mile of each other, yet no connection is known between them.
Donaldson faces four counts of first-degree murder.
News of Donaldson's arrest brought relief to the family members of the victims.
“I am overjoyed right now. I am shaking right now because, like, I should be. My hands are sweaty. I am just very joyed that we caught this killer and got him off the streets,” Robert Hoffa, Monica’s uncle, told WFLA.
During the press conference, Police Chief Dugan also thanked the residents of Seminole Heights who helped the police in this process.
“I would like to thank the people of Seminole Heights who have just been phenomenal in their support of our police department. Their patience and support and the way they have rallied behind the cops of Tampa has just been phenomenal. And the entire Bay Area the way they have supported the men and women of the Tampa Police Department in the neighborhood of Seminole Heights has just been awesome to see,” Dugan said during the press conference.
TPD detectives are still working on the case and the investigation continues.
(Photo: Tampa Police Department/Splash News)