Tampa Killings

Alex Roos

After a two month long search, Tampa police arrested the 24 year old man who was suspected of committing four murders. The man also had a connection to a series of fatal shootings in the city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Howell Donaldson III was taken into custody by the police, Tuesday afternoon at a nearby McDonald’s after police recovered a gun that they thought to be used in the four killings.

Donaldson admitted to owning the gun denied he killed anyone. Although the police in Tampa are convinced they finally arrested the person responsible for the four murders.

“We’ve had other guns, but we knew this was the one,” Dugan said to a reporter. “Now the work begins to shore up the case and get a full prosecution.”

Donaldson was arrested almost two months after the first of the four shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. Each of the victims were doing ordinary tasks when they were killed. The four seemingly unconnected murders happened at night while they were walking alone. The victims were killed but not robbed. So the police ruled the cases were not a mugging.

During the two month search Tampa police scoured the neighborhood warning residents to stay in their house with the door locked at night. Most residents stopped walking their dogs late at night and going for runs later in the day, saying they felt as if they were no longer safe.

For weeks, officials had said they were not calling the shooter a serial killer. But on Wednesday, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said he was proud of the city, which “has now spent the last 51 days dealing with a serial killer.”

Tampa police said they received an anonymous tip on Tuesday around 2:40 p.m. from a McDonald’s manager about a man who had a gun in a bag at the fast food restaurant. The McDonald’s is about two to three miles from where the killings took place.

Donaldson worked at that McDonald’s, Dugan said to a reporter, and went there earlier in the day. He gave the manager a gun in a paper bag for safe-keeping, police said. The manager then gave the weapon to a police officer, who called for backup and detained Donaldson for more questioning

Donaldson purchased a Glock firearm on October 3 and picked it up on October 7 after the mandatory waiting period.. He also purchased a Sig Sauer .40-caliber Smith & Wesson ammunition, on October 7, according to the police.

Donaldson is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Thursday. He has not retained an attorney and will likely be appointed one at his court appearance.