Po­lice hunt house by house for killer af­ter fourth slay­ing in 10-day stretch

The Washington Times Daily - - NA­TION - BY TA­MARA LUSH

TAMPA, FLA. | Tampa po­lice block­aded a neigh­bor­hood 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 neigh­bor­hood 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,” Chief 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 neigh­bor­hood,” Chief Du­gan told re­porters at the scene. “And we need ev­ery­one’s co­op­er­a­tion. We need ev­ery­one to pay at­ten­tion to what’s been go­ing on.”

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

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

Cyn­thia Mur­ray told the Tampa Bay Times that Mr. Fel­ton had been liv­ing with her near the shoot­ing scene. She said Mr. 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,” Ms. Mur­ray said about Mr. Fel­ton’s vol­un­teer work, adding that he 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.

Chief 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 neigh­bor­hood 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.

Robert Clark told the Tampa Bay Times that he was in a nearby laun­dro­mat with his girl­friend when he heard five shots, turned and saw a man run past. He said he went out­side and saw Mr. Fel­ton’s body.

Af­ter the ear­lier shoot­ings, po­lice in­creased pa­trols in the neigh­bor­hood and re­leased sur­veil­lance videos of a hooded sus­pect. In a se­cu­rity video taken mo­ments af­ter Ben­jamin Mitchell, 22, be­came the first vic­tim on Oct. 9, the sus­pect is run­ning from the scene.

Two days af­ter Mitchell was shot, Mon­ica Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. On Oct. 19 An­thony Nai­boa, 20, was shot af­ter tak­ing the wrong bus home from his new job. Po­lice pa­trolling nearby heard the gun­shots and rushed to the scene to find Nai­boa dead.


Law en­force­ment cor­doned off part of the Semi­nole Heights area of Tampa, Florida, af­ter one per­son was shot dead in what po­lice say may be the work of a se­rial killer.

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