TAMPA — With the Seminole Heights neighborhood reeling from four unsolved fatal shootings, City Council member Frank Reddick made an emotional plea Thursday for members of the black community there to give police information about the killer.
Reddick said someone in the community knows the identity of the suspect, who police this week described as a black male, about 6 feet to 6-feet-2 with a thin build and light complexion.
He said it is sad no one has come forward with information. Several times during a speech at a Tampa City Council meeting, he called on "his brothers" to help law enforcement solve the crimes.
"I’m pleading to my brothers. You know this guy," he said. "You know this guy that is walking at 4 o’clock in the morning. Brothers don’t let this happen again. It could be your family next."
Reddick, the lone black member of the council, also offered to serve as a go-between for people who have information but are wary of talking to police. His East Tampa district includes part of the Seminole Heights neighborhood.
He also highlighted the reward money being offered for information about the suspect, whom he described as a thug. That incentive today stands at $100,000 after a $9,000 pledge from local restaurateur Richard Gonzmart, owner of the Columbia and Ulele restaurants.
"Someone needs that money," Reddick said. "You need it because the holiday is coming; you need it because you’re behind in bills."
The killings began Oct. 9 with the shooting of Benjamin Mitchell, 22. Two days later, Monica Hoffa was shot dead. Her body was found two days later. On Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20 was gunned down. And early Tuesday, Ronald Felton, 60, was killed.
Reddick said it is appalling that the Thanksgiving holiday will be a time of grieving for their families.
His speech was commended and echoed by other council members.
"I want to thank Councilman Reddick for what he just said on behalf of the entire community," said Council member Harry Cohen. "I know everyone is praying for a quick resolution to this terrible, terrible situation we find ourselves in."
Contact Christopher O’Donnell at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @codonnell_Times.