Friday, July 20, 2018
Public safety

Police release new video of suspect in Seminole Heights killings

TAMPA — One day after another unsolved fatal shooting in Seminole Heights, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Wednesday it doesn’t matter whether the murders are the work of a serial killer or several different people.

"We have four families devastated," Dugan said at a news conference. "Beyond the families we have their friends devastated and have a police department that’s been tilted and have a community that is very intense and rightfully so. And so it really doesn’t matter at this point how we label it, whether it is one individual or two. We need this to stop."

But as he has said previously, Dugan remains convinced the unsolved homicides are all connected.

"It’s the time, the methodology, the fact that they were all alone,’’ he said. "There is no motive. Nothing is taken or anything like that."

The killings began Oct. 9 with the shooting of Benjamin Mitchell, 22. Two days later, Monica Hoffa was shot dead and her body found two days later. On Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20 was gunned down. And early Tuesday morning Ronald Felton, 60, was shot dead.

In an effort to draw out more tips, Dugan released a new video showing a person he is now identifying as a suspect in at least two of the Seminole Heights killings.

"We have very limited evidence," Dugan said. "That is why we are doing this appeal — to have someone tell us who is in that video. They could be perfectly innocent, but I don’t think so."

Dugan said the video was taken moments before Felton’s murder early Tuesday. The chief said he believes someone must recognize the person.

"I don’t need speculation. I don’t need profiles," Dugan said. "We need names.

Dugan noted the gait and manner in which the suspect walked, saying it was similar to a person captured in video Oct. 9, the day Mitchell was killed. He was described as a black male, about 6 feet to 6-foot-2 with a thin build and light complexion.

The chief seized on the casual manner in which the person in both videos appears to be walking. The Oct. 9 video showed him looking at and flipping his phone shortly before the shooting.

"It’s clear to me that this person is able to flip a switch and murder someone," Dugan said.

Meanwhile, the reward has gone up to $91,000, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation offering $50,000.

Dugan refused again to offer any specifics about the type of weapon or ammunition used in the crimes. He said police have continued to maintain a strong presence in the neighborhood.

So far, he said, they have knocked on 1,957 doors.

"We are out there for the long haul," he said.

Responding to a question about Naiboa’s family searching for their son’s killer and thinking they have found a suspect, Dugan said he feels for Casimar Naiboa.

"I won’t question a grieving father and how he goes about this,’’ the chief said. "I will question the people around him who might be misleading him. And I can assure him we are following up on every lead we have."

Dugan said the thought of another killing has him worried.

"I don’t sleep at night," he said. "How could I. That’s where we stand. I feel for this neighborhood, the people who live there and the businesses."

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or (813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.

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