Last month we looked at the ongoing case of what could be serial killer activity in Seminole Heights, Tampa, FL. At the time of my previous post on the subject, there were a total of three victims: 22 year old Benjamin Mitchell, 32 year old Monica Hoffa and 20 year old Anthony Naiboa.
The three were murdered between the 9th and 19th of October by gunshot in what seemed to be random attacks. They were all different races and (as far as anybody knows) had no connection to one another. The three were shot at different points along the same bus route while walking alone, and despite police patrolling the area; they could not apprehend the killer (whom is speculated to be a serial killer.)
The only image of a suspect authorities have to go on is a grainy surveillance tape of what appears to be a male with his hood up walking around the neighborhood on the evening of one of the murders. He is considered a person if interest in the case.
If you want to read about the previous three murders in detail, please visit the first post here
It’s been over a month since the third victim, Anthony Naiboa, was shot dead in the street and many thought this would be the final life taken at the hands of what is believed to be a serial killer; however Seminole Heights was shaken again by the news of yet another murder on the 14th of November.
Sixty year old Ronald “Ronny” Felton was shot four times from behind while crossing the street around North Nebraska Avenue near East McBerry Street on the way to a local church where he was volunteering to help feed the homeless. Ronnie helped out at the church twice a week and usually left early in the morning to set up. His sister had been following the reports on the Tampa serial killer closely and broke down when she heard the news. She told reporters that she worried about him constantly and even warned him to be careful.
He reassured her he would be fine “If anything happens to me, I love ya” he said.
Ronny was nicknamed “superman” and described as "a man who gave back to his community”, “hardworking”and “the backbone of the food bank” where he volunteered. In a short report with 10 news, a friend recalled Ronny motivating him to volunteer and the group recently held a fund raiser in his memory.
The church is just a 5 minute walk from where the first victim, Benjamin Mitchell, was found. All four victims were killed within a mile of each other.
According to this news report police suspect that Felton may be the fourth victim of the Tampa serial killer, and are treating the murder as such. They think their presence patrolling the area forced the killer to take a break and believe that this person, unable to resist an insatiable urge to kill, murdered Felton opportunistically.
If there is a serial killer stalking the streets of Seminole Heights, he’s getting sloppy, as this time there were witnesses who reported seeing a tall, slender black man, clad head to toe in dark clothes and a cap with a pistol in his hand, flee the scene. He was said to have ran off east. Bob Buckhorn, the mayor of Tampa said the description of the man resembles the image of the person of interest caught on the surveillance footage. This has not been officially confirmed.
Police believe that the serial killer lives locally, as he is able to able to escape undetected within minutes, despite there being police on foot, K9 units and search helicopters. This time the search was extended out to encompass a 2 mile radius, and still no suspect was apprehended. How is the perpetrator managing to flee the scene so quickly and with such ease? Is his home nearby?
Well at the time of the murder police believed they had surrounded the scene and blocked off the perpetrators escape route, so when they still couldn’t locate him, they went door to door. In total they visited 1900 homes in the area; however there is still no news of an arrest. This report from the Tampa bay times described officers photographing one man who resembled the description of the suspect. I couldn't find any further news on this man (at the time of writing this)
Ronny Felton had contact with his twin brother via cell phone at around 4:30AM on the morning of his murder. According to witness’ statements, gun shots rang out into the quite working class neighborhood around 4:50AM. First light would not have been until around 6:30AM so at the time of the killing it would still have been dark out.
The previous three victims were all killed in the evening. It would make sense for the killer to change up his routine due to the heavy police presence in the area, so a killing in the early hours of the morning, although out of character, could still very well be the work of the same person.
This video was released a week ago, showing another image of the suspect.
Seminole heights residents have been advised to turn their porch lights on, keep their doors locked and their guns in reach. They have been advised to avoid walking alone when it’s dark outside, so as not to become the next victim- or a suspect.
If you would like to donate to the church Ronny Felton volunteered at, the wtsp website offers the following information:
“You can mail a financial donation to P.O. Box 310427; Tampa, Florida 33680. Checks should be made payable to New Seasons Apostolic Ministries. Tech-savvy donors can contribute via Cash App with the code $NSAMTampa.”
To any of our readers in Tampa, stay safe.