TAMPA — Tampa police are connecting the Tuesday morning shooting death of a man in the Seminole Heights neighborhood to three earlier October deaths.
Tampa police found a man, whom police identified as Ronald Felton, 60, dead before 5 a.m. Tuesday. Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said it's believed Felton was crossing the street to meet with someone when a suspect came up from behind and shot him.
Information on the suspect was limited: a thin black male, dressed in all black and wearing a black baseball cap.
Spokesman Steve Hegarty said detectives can't immediately say whether Felton's shooting is related to last month's 10-day spree where three people were slain, but officers are treating it like it is.
"I believe this person lives in this neighborhood and we need everyone's cooperation," said Dugan.
"We need everyone to pay attention to what's going on in this neighborhood. ... I can only imagine how they are on edge right now, having a fourth murder."
The first responding sergeant got to the scene in "about a minute," Hegarty said.
Residents within the police perimeter were asked to stay in their homes and to keep their children home from school until an "all clear" is given.
"We want to talk with as many people as we can, we don't think whoever did this has gone very far at this point," Hegarty said.
The October killings spanned a 10-day period, beginning Oct. 9. The three victims were fatally shot within days of each other, all within a few city blocks. All were alone and had gotten off a bus when they were gunned downed at night for no apparent reason. None were robbed.
Police asked residents to review any surveillance cameras they might have and share it with investigators.
"If you own a gun and it's in your home, I want you to go to your home right now ... and find out if your gun is still there," Dugan said. "If it's not, we need you to call us."
Community outreach, patrols after October murders
The Seminole Heights neighborhood has seen an increased police activity since the Oct. 9 shooting death of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22. He was killed at a bus stop.
On Oct. 13, the body of Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was found in a vacant lot.
A third victim, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed on Oct. 19. Tampa police said he took the wrong bus home when he was shot to death.
Tampa police and elected leaders hit the sidewalks to show their commitment to the neighborhood not long after the first murder. To help quell families' fears during Halloween, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Dugan, who was the interim police chief at the time, walked with children during trick-or-treating.
A $41,000 reward is available for anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect in the October killings.
Seminole Heights is a working-class neighborhood northeast of downtown Tampa that's slowly becoming gentrified. Run-down homes sit next to renovated, historic bungalows, and trendy restaurants have sprung up near auto body shops.
Residents and business owners have said there are car burglaries and fights between kids, but nothing like this.