Parents of Suspected Tampa Serial Killer Speak Out In Support Of Son Cops Say Killed 4

Rosita Donaldson and Howell Donaldson, Jr.
Rosita Donaldson and Howell Donaldson, Jr. say they are supporting their son.(WFTS)

The parents of Howell Donaldson III say their 'hearts are heavy' for the victims' families.

The parents of a Florida man who cops say is behind what could be the serial slayings of four innocent people have spoken out.

Along with her husband who shares his name with the accused, Rosita Donaldson told reporters late Friday they are standing by their son while offering condolences to the families of the victims.

"We love him, we support him, we believe him, and we're here for him," said Mrs. Donaldson, adding that she and her husband want desperately to see their son.

Howell Donaldson III is charged with in the deaths of four people in Seminole Heights, where residents have been shaken to their core since the shootings began in early October.

The Donaldson's attorneys advised them not to answer when ABC Action News asked if they'd seen the now viral surveillance video or if they ever suspected that the shadowy figure could have been their son. 

Donaldson's parents say their son was raised in a home of great faith, which they themselves must now turn to in this time of turmoil.

"We're going to lean on our faith as we go through this ordeal," Howell Donaldson, Jr. said. "Our hearts are heavy as their hearts are heavy."

Donaldson has been charged with four counts of first-degree, premeditated murder in the killings of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, Monica Caridad Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.

Police said Donaldson is a Tampa native who in years past lived in New York City, where he reportedly attended Saint John's University in Queens.

Investigators said they don't know what, if any, connection Donaldson has to Seminole Heights. "We don't know what his motive is," Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said. "But there is a lot more to go."

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 feet away from where Mitchell had been slain.