MIAMI – Police in Tampa said early Wednesday that they have arrested a suspect in the alleged serial killings of four people since the beginning of October.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, a 24-year-old Tampa resident and McDonald’s employee, has been arrested in connection with the murders in that city’s Seminole Heights neighborhood and will face charges, the Tampa Police Department announced on Twitter.
Shell casings and cellphone data link Donaldson to the murders, leading local daily Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday, citing an arrest report.
The report indicated that forensic analysis shows .40 caliber shell casings found at three of the murder scenes were fired from a handgun that Donaldson has acknowledged purchasing, the paper said.
Casings found in the fourth murder scene also were previously identified as coming from the same gun, the Tampa Bay Times said.
On Tuesday, the suspect gave that gun to the manager of a McDonald’s restaurant in Tampa’s Ybor City neighborhood to hold for him while he obtained a payday loan.
The manager alerted a female police officer seated inside the McDonald’s to the gun, and Donaldson was arrested when he returned to the restaurant shortly afterward.
The four victims – 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, 32-year-old Monica Caridad Hoffa, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa and 60-year-old Ronald Felton – were not related to one another and were apparently alone when they were shot and killed.
A total of $100,000 in reward money, contributed by law enforcement partners, community groups and private citizens, has been offered for information that helps solve the Seminole Heights homicides.