The alleged Tampa serial killer has been arrested by police and will face murder charges in connection with four killings.
Howell Donaldson III was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder after Tampa police apprehended him at a McDonald’s restaurant in Ybor City following a tip, Fox 13 reported.
In fact, 5,000 tips had come in during the 51-days that terrorized the Florida neighborhood of Seminole Heights following the murders that occurred within a half mile of each other.
BREAKING NEWS: Chief Dugan announced that Howell Donaldson III will face charges in connection with 4 murders in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. pic.twitter.com/MuqAWLRyN9
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) November 29, 2017
On Oct. 9, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death and two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was killed. Twenty-year-old Anthony Naiboa, who took the wrong bus home from his new job was killed on Oct. 19. Ronald Felton, 60, was shot and killed Nov. 14 while walking to volunteer at a food pantry in Seminole Heights, according to Fox News.
We need names, not speculations, to help get this ruthless killer off the streets.
The @crimestopperstb reward for information in the Seminole Heights murders is now up to $100,000. pic.twitter.com/TRjW0W5fPe
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) November 17, 2017
An officer at a McDonald’s where Donaldson has worked for the last four months was approached by one of the suspect’s coworkers Tuesday after he allegedly handed over a bag containing a weapon , Fox 13 reported.
More from Fox 13:
According to Donaldson’s arrest affidavit, he handed his coworker a McDonald’s food bag. Inside was a .40 caliber Glock firearm loaded with SIG brand Smith and Wesson ammunition. Donaldson also said he wanted to leave the state.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement and ATF analyzed the fired cartridge casings in all four murder scenes and identified the casings were fired in the same firearm: a Glock .40 caliber handgun, according to the affidavit. Authorities say the firearm was lawfully purchased at Shooter’s World, located at 116 East Fletcher Avenue, on October 3. He picked it up on October 7 due to a mandatory waiting period.
While detained, Donaldson told detectives no one else besides himself had control of the gun since the purchase. He also said he was “unfamiliar with the area identified as the Seminole Heights neighborhood, and he did not have any association with anyone in the area,” per the affidavit.
Donaldson granted permission for authorities to search his vehicle and cell phone. In his vehicle, were clothing, similar to the clothing worn by a subject in surveillance video captured on October 9 — when the first murder occurred — were found. There is also a suspected blood stain on the clothes.
Location data discovered on the suspect’s phone corresponded with the times of the first three murders in October.
Police in Tampa are holding a suspect in the hunt for a suspected serial killer. Howell Emanuel Donaldson, known as Trai, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder. @BojorquezCBS reports. https://t.co/4Tgdwt2E18 pic.twitter.com/sfktT1J35V
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 29, 2017
Tampa Police had released surveillance footage earlier this month of a person they thought was the suspect.
Authorities still didn’t have a motive for the killings, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said Wednesday morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Donaldson was “pretty non-responsive” and subdued, according to Dugan who spoke to the suspect who has not admitted to the shootings, but did admit he owned the gun that he allegedly took into the McDonald’s before being taken into custody.
JUST IN: Tampa police charge Howell Donaldson III with four counts of first degree murder. pic.twitter.com/6PByCKsprR
— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 29, 2017
Donaldson, who was reportedly born in Charlotte, North Carolina had no previous criminal record in Florida, according to Fox 13.
Howell Donaldson III goes by Trigga Trai on Instagram.
In police custody.
Worked @ McDonald’s.
Seminole Heights Serial Killer?#Tampa #howelldonaldson #SeminoleHeightsKillings pic.twitter.com/rBVDgQyKwU
— Jonathan Lee Riches (@xxxlawsuitxxx) November 29, 2017
— VeronicaCintron (@VeronicaCintron) November 29, 2017
“Tonight will be the beginning of when justice will be served,” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said Tuesday evening in a press conference.
“You know 51 days ago I said this was a struggle between good and evil, well know, goodness has won,” he said.