A man was killed in the Seminole Heights neighborhood, a crime thought to be linked to three other shootings last month. “This has got to stop,” the mayor said.
It had been about a month since the deaths of three people in Tampa, Fla., stoked fears that a serial killer was targeting the neighborhood of Seminole Heights.
But just when it seemed as though the violence had ended, another person was shot to death early Tuesday morning in the same area.
“This has got to stop, and we will hunt this person down until we find them,” Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa said at a news conference.
Ronald Felton, 60, was killed in southeast Seminole Heights, less than half a mile from where Monica Hoffa, 32, was shot on Oct. 11, Stephen Hegarty, a police spokesman, said. Two other victims, also shot in October, died nearby.
Witnesses told the police that Mr. Felton was crossing the street to meet someone when he was shot from behind near North Nebraska and East Wilder Avenues. Officers arrived at 4:51 a.m., within seconds of receiving a call that shots had been fired, the police said.
“We are proceeding with the assumption that it’s related to the others,” Mr. Hegarty said. “But there is also no clear motive.”
Mr. Felton, like the other three victims, was shot in the dark, while walking alone.
He was gunned down near New Season Apostolic Ministries, where he helped feed the homeless on Tuesdays and Thursdays, reported WFLA, an NBC affiliate.
“The family is just torn,” Mr. Felton’s brother James told the station. “My family is taking it real hard.”
The gunman was described as a black man, about 6 feet to 6 feet 2 inches tall, with a thin build and light complexion. He was said to be armed with a large black pistol and last seen wearing all black clothing.
“I believe that this person lives in this neighborhood,” Tampa’s interim police chief, Brian Dugan, said at the news conference. “We are systematically searching the neighborhood, going through yards, we’ll be knocking on doors, searching houses, that kind of thing, and we need people to cooperate with us.”
None of the victims were robbed. And the police have not uncovered any information indicating that the victims had recently argued with someone or were involved in criminal activity.
It is possible that the weapon used by the gunman was stolen, Mr. Hegarty said.
“If you own a gun and you think you know where it is, check to make sure it’s there,” he said.
Rachel Grannan, 36, lives in Old Seminole Heights, about a mile from where the shootings took place. Her husband was out walking their dog around the time Mr. Felton was shot. As recently as two weeks ago she walked their dog alone, late at night.
“I can tell you I won’t be doing that again,” she said.
She said they plan to take more precautions going forward, but the shootings are not going to stop them from living their lives.
“We don’t want to stop going out because of this one thing,” she said.
The Tampa police released a video at the end of October showing someone walking near where the first victim, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot. It has generated several leads, but nothing that has cracked the case.
The police are encouraging the public to come forward with surveillance video and information, no matter how small it may seem.
“There is no little detail that can be left unsaid here,” Chief Dugan said.