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Video: Rick Scott, Buckhorn celebrate Seminole Heights arrest

Buckhorn and Scott were chummy as the two regaled law enforcement.
Governor Rick Scott, center, with Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, left, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn, right, talk with members of the media at Tampa Police Headquarters in Tampa. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Times]
Governor Rick Scott, center, with Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, left, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn, right, talk with members of the media at Tampa Police Headquarters in Tampa. [WILL VRAGOVIC | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 29, 2017|Updated Nov. 29, 2017

Inside the Tampa Police Department on Wednesday morning, Florida Governor Rick Scott tried to thank officer Randi Whitney for her role in arresting the man suspected of killing four individuals in Seminole Heights, but she graciously deflected the praise.

“This was because of the entire department,” she said.

Thirty minutes later, that team effort was the theme of a press conference led jointly by Scott and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn who were flanked by leaders of the TPD, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Highway Patrol.

“I can tell you with a great deal of certainty we would not have solved this case without the help of the agencies you see behind us,” Buckhorn said.

“They didn’t care what color their uniform was. They were focused on bringing justice. Governor Scott has constantly been in touch with us asking what he can do to help. We would not be here today had it had not been for the team effort that rook place the last 51 days.”

Scott was quick to note that the McDonald’s employees who alerted police officer Whitney to the fact that the suspected killer handed her a gun also deserved some thanks.

“Thank god for the lady in McDonald’s willing to do this,” Scott said.

“I think what everyone in law enforcement will tell you is if you see something you have you have got to say something. Everybody needs to thank law enforcement. They put their lives on the line every day.”

To the families of the victims, he said, “my heart goes out to you but what we do know is because of the hard work of law enforcement justice will be served. We prosecute people to the fullest extent of the law. You do not want to commit crime in our state.”

“Every family in this state, every family in this community, wants to be safe.”

Before the news conference, Buckhorn, a Democrat, and Scott, a Republican, were friendly. They said they were extremely relieved that it was over and kept bringing up how, between the hurricanes and the serial killings, it had been a crazy few weeks.

Buckhorn joked later that no one brought him the head.