Tampa officials pass out porch light bulbs as locals arm themselves amid serial killer fears
As a Florida community is gripped by fears of a serial killer on the loose, the city is doing what it can to keep residents safe.
The Tampa Police Department has increased patrols in the neighborhood where three people were shot and killed in the past two weeks and the city has taken the additional measure of handing out light bulbs to homeowners to keep their porch lights on as crews also replace street lamps, CBS News reported.
"We need you to call us and let us know what's going on," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said. "That's how we're gonna catch this guy. And we will hunt this son of a b**** down until we find him!"
Meanwhile, some in the area believe they must take their safety into their own hands, including shop owner Majed Foqahaa.
"I carry my gun. I jumped in my car. I dropped one of my guys — he works here — to his house. I stay in front of his house until he walks into the house, then turn around and go home," Foqahaa said.
Twenty-year-old Anthony Naiboa was killed Thursday, just 50 feet away from a bus stop where another man, 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell, was killed on Oct. 9, police said.
On Oct. 13, Tampa city workers found the body of Monica Hoffa, 32, in an empty field. Police said she was shot and neighbors reportedly heard gunshots the day before.
Police have increased their presence in the neighborhood amid the slayings. In each of the shootings, the victim was alone and was not robbed, police said.
Tampa police released surveillance video of someone they believe may be integral to solving Mitchell’s murder. The person, who was walking alone near the area at the time of the murder, was wearing long pants, a long jacket and a hood, police said.
Police have warned the community to be aware of their surroundings and travel in groups.
"If you're walking alone, you're either a suspect or a potential victim, and that's what they need to remember in this neighborhood," Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.
Police have asked that anyone with any other information about the crimes to come forward. Crime Stoppers is offering an $18,000 reward for information leading to an arrest of the suspect.
Anyone with information can call 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).