TAMPA — Police in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood escorted children to their bus stops Monday, while fanning across the area in search of a man they believe may be associated with as many as three murders in 11 days, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
The newspaper reports the Tampa Police Department gave officers a list of bus stops in the neighborhood, as well as pick-up times, and vowed to keep watch over students. The neighborhood has been on high alert after the shooting deaths of three people who had no apparent links to each other.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan believes the killings are connected based on their close proximity and time frame. However, Dugan is refraining from labeling the unknown suspect as a serial killer.
“I’m very cautious of that term because we don’t have enough information,”. “You know, we don’t know. It could be multiple people.”
Police are looking for an individual seen in surveillance video strolling through the neighborhood, wearing a hoodie, on the night of the first murder.
“We have no leads,” Dugan admitted over the weekend. “We have no motive.”
What police do have is a disturbing pattern; three victims, strangers to each other but shot in the same area, in the same time frame.
On October 13, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa’s body was found in a vacant lot. Four days earlier, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell’s body was found less than a mile away.
On Thursday, police found the body of 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa, who was shot after taking the wrong bus home from work, about 100 yards from where Mitchell was killed.
At a vigil on Sunday evening, Naiboa’s father, Casimir, pointed to a place on the ground: “He was right on this floor, right here. They killed him just for nothing. Like he’s not a human, like he’s nothing.”
Patrol officers are canvassing the streets, hoping to find the killer and ease the community’s fear. The police were to hold a community meeting with residents Monday evening to talk about the murders, and how to stay safe.
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