Authorities told residents in a Tampa neighborhood to take shelter on Tuesday after they found another dead body close to the area an alleged serial killer murdered three other people.
Fox News reports that around 4:51 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Tampa officers responded to a call about gunshots heard in a Seminole Heights neighborhood. When they arrived, authorities found 60-year-old Ronald Felton’s lifeless body close to North Nebraska Avenue and East McBerry Street, dead from gunshot wounds. According to witnesses, Fenton was crossing the street when he was shot from behind, killed close to the area where other victims were shot and killed last month.
Tampa Police arrived within seconds of 911 call; witness says had officers arrived seconds earlier they could've captured the shooter. https://t.co/OTcIgml1ds pic.twitter.com/vCxYB087Y6
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) November 14, 2017
Police Chief Brian Dugan said that authorities are treating the shooting as “related” to the other shootings, although they already have a suspect behind bars for the previous murders.
“Right now, we are treating it as related until we can rule otherwise….We think by their proximity and the manner it was done, they are linked. We’re saying it’s related to the other Seminole Heights murders.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, suspected serial killer Nathaniel Petgrave was arrested last week for allegedly targeting homeless people in the Fort Lauderdale area. Police said he killed at least three people, including Larry Scott, 65; John Jackson, 50; and Derick Tucker, 21.
According to Dugan, the latest killing was similar to the previous killings. He thinks the killer is “hiding out” since the latest shooting happened during early morning hours.
“Because the time has changed, how were they able to get here at this hour? How were they able to vanish so quickly? You have to believe they are hiding out somewhere.”
Although area schools remain open, the Hillsborough PD requested that students who live inside the Tampa perimeter of Hillsborough to stay at home on Tuesday morning until officers secured the area off.
Schools in #SeminoleHeights are open today. Students who live inside the @TampaPD perimeter of Hillsborough Av, Nebraska Av, Chelsea St & 15th St. should stay in your homes. Do not go to bus stops or leave to walk or drive to school until police secure the area.
— Hillsborough Schools (@HillsboroughSch) November 14, 2017
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announced that it’s likely the suspect lives within close proximity to the neighborhood where Felton was shot. He’s asking residents to “think about what they heard last night,” according to Fox News, and to turn on any available surveillance cameras.
“This is personal. This has got to stop. We need to catch this killer before we have to notify one more family that one of their loved ones is dead.”
Buckhorn also encouraged anyone with any information to come forward. The mayor indicated that protecting the person responsible for the shooting is essentially protecting a serial killer, New York Daily News reports.
“All you’re doing is protecting a killer. And that killer may take out one of your family members. So, you decide which side you’re on.”
The suspect is described as a black male with a thin build. A witness said he wore a baseball cap and dressed in all black.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Google Maps/Aug. 2016]