Man Who Was Gunned Down on Street May Be Fourth Victim of Tampa Serial Killer: Police
A man found shot to death in Florida may be the fourth victim of a serial killer whose identity remains unknown to police.
Ronald Felton, 60, was gunned down early Tuesday morning just blocks away from a memorial for three other murder victims who were shot to death within a two-week span in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa last month.
Felton was reportedly on his way to church when someone allegedly “came up from behind and shot him,” police said.
“We are treating it as though it is related until we rule otherwise,” interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference Tuesday.
Police said they now have a description of the suspect in the case, a slim black man, 6 to 6-foot-2-inches tall, with a light complexion and armed with a large black pistol. He was last seen wearing black clothing.
Police, who have been heavily present in the area since the previous murders, arrived to the shooting scene within seconds of the 5 a.m. murder.
“We do have a witness,” Dugan said. “When I spoke to her, she said, ‘If our officer had been five seconds earlier, he would've been able to stop it.’"
At the same news conference, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn added: “This has got to stop. We will hunt this person down until we find them... We need to catch this killer before we have to notify one more family that their loved one is dead."
Felton, a father of three, was reportedly on his way to feed the homeless at his church when tragedy struck.
Felton’s sister, Linda Cunningham, 63, told NBC News she has been following the killings and broke down at the news of her brother’s death.
"For that to happen to my brother, to be shot four times at close range, that’s hard," Cunningham said.
The first killing took place Oct. 9 when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot while waiting for a local bus. Then, on Oct. 13, Tampa city workers found the body of Monica Hoffa, 32, in an empty field. Police said she was also shot.
On Oct. 19, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa, who had autism, was shot and killed just 50 ft. away from where Mitchell had been slain.
Tampa police previously released surveillance video of someone they believe may be integral to solving the murder investigations.
The footage, which was taken on the night of Mitchell’s murder, shows a subject running down the street in the area and around the time of the slaying.
Police have warned the community to be aware of their surroundings and to travel in groups. They have also asked residents to keep their porch lights on.
Police confirmed the first three killings are linked and remain unsolved.
Authorities offering a $41,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).