Tampa police hunt killer after three eerily similar murders

Three people were found murdered in less than two weeks in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida, leading police to warn that a killer is on the loose.

The only thing connecting the crimes so far, officials said, are that they happened in the same neighborhood, and the victims shot were with a firearm when alone at night.

Officials are still searching for leads and do not yet have a motive for the killings, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said in a press conference Friday. When asked if he thought the murders could point to a possible serial killer, he said it was clear that the murders were linked.

Tampa police hunt killer after similar murders
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Tampa police hunt killer after similar murders

Three people were found murdered in less than two weeks in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida.

(Photo via Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)

WATCH VID: https://t.co/XwauE5YCHG We believe this person may have ties to the Seminole Heights area. Contact… https://t.co/NjPn3wXu8b
WHO IS THIS? @TampaPD wants to find out if this person has anything to do with 3 murders in Seminole Heights:… https://t.co/pkDI63N8SF
Anthony Naiboa

(Photo via Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)
DEVELOPING - 3 bodies found in #SeminoleHeights within 1 mile of each other in 10 days time - are the cases linked?… https://t.co/K3DAwLiXBw

Monica Caridad Hoffa

(Photo via Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)

#BREAKING Just a couple blocks from the memorial of a man shot in #SeminoleHeights, another person found randomly s… https://t.co/t4rVqTYAhF

Benjamin Edward Mitchell

(Photo via Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives)

Seminole Heights neighbors chanting "our streets" after three murders that appear to be random. https://t.co/HeDDe1bbiP
Another suspicious death in Tampa's Seminole Heights https://t.co/0K9uxM5wA9
Tampa Police Dept. releases new video of person of interest in the killings of three people. https://t.co/qENafTaNOg https://t.co/fqXUDmHIUp
We have added over 1000 streetlights in Seminole Heights. You've seen our men out there. We're not stopping until we catch this guy.
.@CityofTampa crews are working around the clock in Southeast Seminole Heights to clear vacant lots/alleys to reduc… https://t.co/LF6ZysiLdn
Amid hunt for possible serial killer, Tampa Police release more video of person of interest. @KerryNBC reports now… https://t.co/Mjp9ltr1Gs

“There’s proximity and time frame, they’re related, no doubt,” he said. “We are still sifting through evidence. We can call it what we want if it brings attention to this.”

Tampa Bay police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information leading to an arrest. They are urging residents to remain vigilant.

"We need everyone to come out at night, turn on their porch lights and just not tolerate this type of terrorism in a neighborhood," Dugan said. He added that the city refused to be “held hostage” by the killer.

Related: Videos Show Dramatic Rescue of Rape Victim, Serial Killer Confessions

Police on Friday identified 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa as a third victim. Dugan said Naboia, who was autistic, was killed late Thursday after he accidentally took the wrong bus from work.

“Our officers were in the neighborhood, heard gunfire as they canvassed through the neighborhood. Fortunately one of our officers was able to find him, but it was too late,” Dugan said.

The second victim, Monica Hoffa, 32, was found dead in a vacant lot in the neighborhood on Oct. 11.

The man police believe to be the first victim, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot and killed nearby on Oct. 9 while waiting for a bus. Naiboa was found 300 yards away, and police said all three homicides took place within a mile radius.

Related: South Carolina 'Serial Killer' Todd Kohlhepp Pleads Guilty in 7 Murders

Police have released surveillance video of the man they say is the alleged killer. Grainy footage shows a man walking through the streets wearing what appears to be a hooded shirt.

Residents in the Seminole Heights neighborhood marched through the community Friday, placing flowers and lighting candles at each of the three locations were the victims were killed.

"We want to come out to make a stand to whoever this horrible person is out there doing these things and let them know we will not relinquish our streets, this is our community," said resident Michelle Cookson. "We will not be terrorized."

Police are urging anyone with information to come forward, and are going door-to-door to nearby businesses asking to view any surveillance video of the neighborhood.

"A person needs to step forward, someone has to have a suspicion on someone," Dugan said. "If you're walking alone you're either a suspect, or a potential victim."

When asked if he had a message for the killer, Dugan said, “Enough is enough.”

“I don’t know what your motive is, but enough,” he said. “There’s been enough carnage.”

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