Po­lice hunt house-by-house for pos­si­ble se­rial killer

The Western Star - - WORLD - BY TA­MARA LUSH

Tampa po­lice block­aded a neigh­bour­hood and searched with a SWAT team and dogs for a pos­si­ble se­rial killer Tues­day af­ter a fourth per­son was shot dead for no ap­par­ent rea­son.

Res­i­dents of the Semi­nole Heights neigh­bour­hood re­ported hear­ing shots just be­fore 5 a.m. Tues­day. Of­fi­cers quickly moved in, and found the body of Ron­ald Fel­ton, 60, who had been walk­ing across the street when a gun­man came up be­hind him and fired, in­terim Po­lice Chief Brian Du­gan said.

“Our of­fi­cers re­sponded within sec­onds,” Du­gan said, not­ing that en­abled of­fi­cers to quickly set up a perime­ter around a roughly square-mile area. SWAT of­fi­cers as­sisted by agents from the Fed­eral Bureau of Al­co­hol, To­bacco, Firearms and Explosives could be seen pa­trolling the streets with ri­fles as they moved through yards and banged on doors.

“I be­lieve that this per­son lives in this neigh­bour­hood,” Du­gan added as he spoke with re­porters at the scene. “And we need every­one’s co-op­er­a­tion; we need every­one to pay at­ten­tion to what’s been go­ing on.”

Du­gan said that un­til his de­tec­tives can de­ter­mine oth­er­wise, Fel­ton’s shoot­ing will be treated as if it’s re­lated to last month’s 10-day spree where three peo­ple were slain. The pre­vi­ous three vic­tims were alone and had got­ten off a bus in the neigh­bour­hood when they were gunned downed at night. None was robbed.

“This has got to stop,” Mayor Bob Buck­horn told a news con­fer­ence on Tues­day. “We will hunt this per­son down un­til we find him.”

Cyn­thia Mur­ray told The Tampa Bay Times that Fel­ton had been liv­ing with her near the shoot­ing scene. She said Fel­ton was an un­em­ployed con­struc­tion worker who vol­un­teered Tues­days and Fri­days at the nearby food bank run by a church, which is close to where he was shot. She said he would go to the church at 2:30 a.m. to help.

“He didn’t need to come here ev­ery week but he loved it,” she said about Fel­ton’s vol­un­teer work. She said Fel­ton and his twin brother, Reg­gie, were well known in the area.

“He was the sweet­est per­son, never any prob­lems,” his cousin, Linda Daniels, told the news­pa­per.

Du­gan urged Semi­nole Heights res­i­dents to stay inside and pre­pare to share with po­lice any po­ten­tial de­tail that might be use­ful as the SWAT team and po­lice dogs cleared prop­er­ties. Po­lice said the sus­pect is a thin black man, about 6-feet tall, wear­ing black cloth­ing and car­ry­ing a large hand­gun. They are ask­ing res­i­dents to ex­am­ine video from any se­cu­rity cam­eras they have.

Semi­nole Heights is a work­ing-class neigh­bour­hood north­east of down­town Tampa that’s slowly be­com­ing gen­tri­fied. Run-down homes sit next to ren­o­vated, his­toric bun­ga­lows, and trendy restau­rants have sprung up near auto body shops. Of­fi­cers were at ev­ery street corner around the perime­ter, ques­tion­ing any­one try­ing to leave.

AP PHOTO

Law en­force­ment agents in­ves­ti­gate a fa­tal shoot­ing in the Semi­nole Heights neigh­bour­hood in Tampa, Fla., Tues­day.

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