Police are optimistic that a man they are questioning after confronting him at a local McDonald’s restaurant might provide the break they need to solve the Seminole Heights killings in Tampa, Florida. The man is not under arrest or in custody, though, police said on November 28. Photos and videos emerged from the scene of the McDonald’s showing the man’s red car as massive media attention focused on the scene.
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said in a news conference that, after receiving a tip, police “confronted the person that had the gun” and are interviewing the person. “It’s very early in the investigation,” Dugan stressed, adding that there had been more than 5,000 tips since the string of slayings started in early October 2017.
“We have to be very careful what we release because this person might be completely innocent. I’m optimistic on this one, but only time will tell. We have a lot of work to do. We will be in the neighborhood tonight. It’s important that people use caution… It’s still very early,” the police said in the news conference after word spread.
Chief Dugan said he was optimistic because “things are falling in place,” but he said that had happened before and “led to nothing.” It’s “day 51 that we’ve been doing this,” the police chief said. “It’s been a long time for the families and for the cops…It’s going to be a long night.”
Dugan said it will be a slow process that will require search warrants and interviews to determine whether the man could be tied to the Tampa homicides. The McDonald’s restaurant is located in Ybor City.
Dugan added: “Yes, I believe this has to do with Seminole Heights….I’m hopeful, but I’m guarded… we have a gun…we got a tip that the gun was there.” According to Bradenton.com, “There was a heavy police presence at the McDonald’s on East 13th Avenue on Tuesday after police confronted a man who was armed and may be linked with the shooting deaths in Seminole Heights.” Police were led to the location by a tip.
The Seminole Heights killer has struck several times since October 9. The victims are Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20; and Ronald Felton, 60. It appears the victims were shot randomly. Although officials fear the slayings add up to the work of a serial killer, they have stopped short of identifying the suspect as a serial killer.
Police previously released a sketch of the possible Tampa serial killer, as well as video appearing to show him. The slayings, which appear to be random, have terrified people throughout Tampa since they broke out.
The name of the person being questioned has not yet been released.