24-year-old man arrested in Tampa serial killings

Howell Emanuel Donaldson

Howell Emanuel Donaldson

Tampa police arrested a man Tuesday in connection with a series of killings in the city's Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Acting on a tip, detectives recovered a gun and found the suspect, identified as Howell Emmanuel Donaldson III, 24, at the McDonald's restaurant in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood, WFLA reported.

Donaldson is suspected of having killed four people in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since October 9.

The four seemingly unconnected victims were separated by age, race and occupation, and each was killed - but not robbed - while walking alone at night within a half-mile area, police said.

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Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said the charging documents are still being crafted at this hour, but that police wanted to get the news out to assure the residents of Seminole Heights. The co-worker looked inside the bag, spotted the weapon and approached a Tampa police officer who was sitting in the restaurant doing paperwork. Donaldson graduated from St. John's in January with a degree in sports management.

The employee said the co-worker handed a manager a gun and left to visit an Amscot. The person in the video, Dugan said then, had become a suspect. "We have to be very careful what we release because this person might be completely innocent".

Police have received 5,000 tips that could lead to the killer, but no arrests have been made.

Donaldson bought the gun and a 20-round box of bullets from Shooter's World in Tampa on October 3. A police report said the gun matched shell casings in three of the four homicides.

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The four random murders didn't appear to be robberies, leading police to believe they were the work of a serial killer. "Today the light shines".

On Oct. 11, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was slain. "This community begins the healing process".

Donaldson did not live in the Seminole Heights neighborhood where the shootings occurred and the police said authorities have not been able to determine why Donaldson chose the area.

A third man, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa, was gunned down October 19 - just 200 yards from where Mitchell was found shot.

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