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Alleged Serial Killer Brought Down In Florida After Four Victims, 51 Days

REUTERS/Javier Galeano

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter

Florida police arrested a suspect in the murders of four people, bringing respite to a town that has been on high alert for 51 days.

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, will face four counts of first degree murder for the shooting deaths of four Tampa area residents, CNN reported Wednesday. The four victims were killed — but not robbed –within a half mile of each other, beginning in October. Police had been escorting kids to school and encouraging residents to leave their lights on at night throughout the hunt.

“The real goal is to let the people of Seminole Heights be able to get a good night’s sleep,” Dugan Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Tuesday night. “It’s been 51 days that they’ve been terrorized in their neighborhood and it is about letting these families know that we’re going to bring this person to justice, and letting this neighborhood get some rest.”

The four victims, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, Monica Hoffa, 32, Anthony Naiboa, 20, and Ronald Felton, 60, were killed on Oct. 9, Oct. 14, Oct. 19, and Nov. 14, respectively.

Police made the arrest Tuesday after a McDonald’s employee tipped off police that one of his coworkers brought in a gun and gave it to the manager for safe keeping. The man turned out to be Donaldson. He’d worked at the restaurant for roughly two months and was apparently trying to ditch the weapon, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The manager had no idea what to do with the gun and another employee recommended she tip off a police officer who was eating at the restaurant. After doing so, the officer called for backup. Meanwhile, Donaldson had gone across the street to get a pay-day loan, and police took him in for questioning when he returned to the McDonald’s parking lot for his car.

Hours later, Dugan confirmed that Donaldson had been arrested and charged for the four murders.

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