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Courts / Law

FHP Troopers Join Team Patrolling Seminole Heights

10-20-17_SeminoleHtsShoot.jpg
Tampa Police Department

Florida Highway Patrol troopers are helping to police Seminole Heights after four people were recently shot to death in the Tampa neighborhood.

At Gov. Rick Scott's request, the troopers are joining others who are helping out including sheriff’s deputies from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, St. Petersburg police, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The FBI is also helping with the investigation. 

Tampa police believe one suspect is responsible for at least two of the killings. 

“To flood the area as we have been doing takes a lot of personnel and the only way that we could possibly do it is we're getting a lot of help,” said Stephen Hegarty, spokesman for the Tampa Police Department.

Police are looking for a black male, 6 feet to 6-foot-2, with a thin build and light complexion. They released a second video of the suspect last week after a fourth victim was killed. 

The man in the video taken moments before the slaying of Ronald Felton on Nov. 14 is the same suspect in a video captured before the Oct. 9 slaying of Benjamin Mitchell, police said.

Police are not calling the suspect a serial killer but are convinced he is involved in at least two of the four slayings.

Authorities have received more than 4,000 tips and a reward leading to the killer's arrest has climbed to $110,000.

“This is an uncommon event,” Hegarty said. “We've not seen anything like it. We've had manhunts before but not like this.”

Residents and police have been on edge since Mitchell was shot to death. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was slain. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job.

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