TAMPA POLICE RELEASE ADDITIONAL VIDEO IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS HOMICIDES
Update 11/16/2017 – 12:30 p.m. REWARD MONEY IN SEMINOLE HEIGHTS MURDERS INCREASES TO $100,000
The reward money for information that helps solve the Seminole Heights homicides has now increased to $100,000, with law enforcement partners, community groups, and private citizens contributing.
The total stood at $91,000 on Wednesday and, on Thursday, restaurateur Richard Gonzmart pledged $9,000 to bring the total to $100,000.
“The support from the community and our law enforcement partners has been inspiring,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “I can’t thank them enough for stepping up. The reward money is truly impressive, and that’s only one of the many ways that people are showing their support.”
“Finding this killer is a community effort and Richard Gonzmart and the Columbia Restaurant Group have always been fantastic community partners who lead by example,” said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “We need to and will find who’s committing these heinous, senseless murders and when we do, it will be because of people like Richard, the Seminole Heights community, Tampa Police Department and our partners in the law enforcement community who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into bringing this killer to justice.”
Update 11/15/2017 – 6 p.m.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan today released new video that shows person walking near the scene of the fatal shooting of Ronald Felton on Tuesday morning, which looks strikingly similar to the person in a video taken before the October 9 shooting death of Benjamin Mitchell.
The similarities led Chief Dugan on Wednesday to declare the person in the video to be a suspect in four recent homicides in the Seminole Heights area.
Chief Dugan also announced that the reward money had increased significantly.
The new video begins with a portion of the earlier video showing a person walking near the site of the Oct. 9 homicide. The person in the video is wearing a distinctive hoodie. Though it appears to be a light-colored hoodie or jacket, detectives point out that the colors are misleading. Dark colors often appear as light colors in night video. That Oct. 9 video includes a portion in color from a different camera, which clearly shows the person’s hoodie to be a dark color.
Then the video shows a clip from a November 14 video taken near the scene of the Tuesday morning murder. The person in the video looks similar to the person in the earlier video, and once again the hoodie appears to be a light color in the night video. But we know from the earlier night video that the colors are misleading. Witnesses who saw the shooter Tuesday morning described him as wearing all dark clothing.
After the shooting, TPD received more than 450 tips, with the total number of tips now over 2,300. Roughly two dozen detectives are going through hours and hours of surveillance video.
The reward money has increased significantly because on Wednesday the FBI put up an additional $50,000. The total amount from our law enforcement partners is now $85,000, and that is the amount that will be advertised on Crime Stopper billboards. The law enforcement partners include Crime Stoppers, FDLE, ATF, and the FBI.
In addition, the community has raised more than $6,000, including funds from a fundraiser held at the Brew Bus, a donation from the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association, and a donation from Liberty Property Management.
Chief Dugan emphasized that TPD needs to identify the person in the video. Anyone with any information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.
The current reward amount for information in the deaths of four individuals in the Southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood is $91,000.