Tampa police release new video in hunt for clues related to possible serial killings

Tampa police released additional video footage on Thursday that shows a "person of interest" running away from a location where the first in a string of murders took place in the neighborhood of Seminole Heights.

Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a Thursday press conference that the individual shown in the video is not considered a suspect at this time but said he felt comfortable labeling them a "person of interest."

"All along we have said that he is not a suspect but he was in the area at that time," Dugan said. "We believe he may have seen something or heard something that could assist us in this investigation."

20 PHOTOS
Series of fatal shootings in Tampa -- Howell Donaldson III
See Gallery
Series of fatal shootings in Tampa -- Howell Donaldson III

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)

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, facing murder charges for a string of deadly shootings in Tampa, is seen in this handout photo received November 29, 2017. Tampa Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Ryan Reynolds, 37, and a resident of the Tampa neighborhood of South Seminole Heights, talks on November 15, 2017 about the recent killings of four people in his neighborhood by gunshot over the last month. Police believe the four killings, none of which involved robbery or another obvious motive, may be related. With the reward for information leading to an arrest at $91,000, police urged the community to help. / AFP PHOTO / Les Neuhaus (Photo credit should read LES NEUHAUS/AFP/Getty Images)
A sign warning burglars to beware (L) is seen beside a church notice late November 15, 2017 in Tampa, Florida, with fears mounting over a possible serial killer after four unsolved murders, with police upping a reward for any clues. Before dawn on November 14, 2017, Ronald Felton, 60, became the fourth murder victim by gunshot while on his way to feed homeless people at the church within a months time. Tampa Police believe the killings are connected. / AFP PHOTO / Les Neuhaus (Photo credit should read LES NEUHAUS/AFP/Getty Images)
A memorial wreath rests late November 15, 2017 along the Tampa street where Ronald Felton, 60, was gunned down just a few feet away in the early morning hours the previous day, making him the fourth murder victim within a seven-block area in a months time. Police believe the four killings, none of which involved robbery or another obvious motive, may be related. With the reward for information leading to an arrest at $91,000, police urged the community to help. / AFP PHOTO / Les Neuhaus (Photo credit should read LES NEUHAUS/AFP/Getty Images)

Benjamin Edward Mitchell

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

Monica Caridad Hoffa

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

Anthony Naiboa

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

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, facing murder charges for a string of deadly shootings in Tampa, is seen in this handout photo received November 29, 2017.

(Tampa Police Department/Handout via REUTERS)

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
DEVELOPING - 3 bodies found in #SeminoleHeights within 1 mile of each other in 10 days time - are the cases linked?… https://t.co/K3DAwLiXBw
#BREAKING Just a couple blocks from the memorial of a man shot in #SeminoleHeights, another person found randomly s… https://t.co/t4rVqTYAhF
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
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The video was taken on Oct. 9 — the night of the first of three killings in the area in 11 days. Benjamin Mitchell, 22, the first victim, was shot while waiting at a bus stop.

On Oct. 13, the body of the second victim, Monica Hoffa, 32, was found in a vacant lot, where police say she was fatally shot. And on Oct. 19 Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed while walking down a street, authorities said.

Another video, released earlier this month, showed a person walking calmly at night through the Seminole Heights neighborhood. In the newly-released surveillance footage, the person is seen sprinting back the way they came.

Dugan said police believe the person of interest was in the area where Mitchell was killed.

Related: Tampa Mayor Vows Police Will Catch Killer After 3 Murders in 2 Weeks

"Now we have video of this same person, we believe, is now running from the area," Dugan said. "And this person is running just seconds after the murder."

Dugan said he believes the person in the video could be running for one of four reasons.

5 PHOTOS
H.H. Holmes, one of America's first serial killers
See Gallery
H.H. Holmes, one of America's first serial killers
Two portraits (one a profile) of American pharmacist and convicted serial killer Herman Webster Mudgett (better known by his alias H.H. Holmes, 1861 - 1896), mid to late 1890s. Holmes built the World's Fair Hotel (labelled as 'Holmes' 'Castle',' but also known as the 'Murder Castle,' after it's actual purpose became known) (on W. 63rd Street) as a structure to lure his, mostly female, victims from the World's Columbian Exposition, then occuring in Chicago. The interior was a mazelike, with rooms for torturing his captive victims, as well as both a lime pit and furances in the basement, which were used to dispose of the bodies. Holmes was convicted of four murders, but he confessed to 27 and there was widespread, and credible, speculation that he could have been responsible for several hundred. The photo originally appeared in the book 'The Holmes-Pitezel Case, a History of the Greatest Crime of the Century' (by Frank P. Geyer). (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Herman W. Mudgett, known as H.H. Holmes. He was a notorious insurance murderer. He killed 27 people, many fairgoers to the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, and was tried in 1895.

(Photo credit: Getty)

View of the World's Fair Hotel (labelled as 'Holmes' 'Castle',' but also known as the 'Murder Castle,' after it's actual purpose became known) (on W. 63rd Street), Chicago, Illinois, mid 1890s. The structure was designed by serial murderer Herman Webster Mudgett (better known by his alias H.H. Holmes), a phramacist who built the structure to lure his, mostly female, victims from the World's Columbian Exposition, then occuring in Chicago. The interior was a mazelike, with rooms for torturing his captive victims, as well as both a lime pit and furances in the basement, which were used to dispose of the bodies. Holmes was convicted of four murders, but he confessed to 27 and there was widespread, and credible, speculation that he could have been responsible for several hundred. The building bured down in 1895. The photo originally appeared in the book 'The Holmes-Pitezel Case, a History of the Greatest Crime of the Century' (by Frank P. Geyer). (Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images)

Marion Hedgspeth was outlaw and train robber, often known as the 'Handsome Bandit' or the 'Debonair Bandit'. He robbed for years before finally being caught by Pinkertons in San Francisco, California. He served 25 years in prison after his conviction, and was killed after his release when a Chicago policeman. A tip from Hedgspeth helped in the hunt for H.H. Holmes, who was believed to be the first American serial killer.

(Photo credit: Getty)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"One, they may be late for dinner. Two, they're out exercising. Three, they heard gunshots," Dugan said. "And number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell."

Dugan warned that profilers and retired law enforcement might "crawl out of the woodwork" to theorize who the person in the video is.

"They're looking at the odds. This isn't Vegas, this is a homicide investigation," Dugan said. "We need names not speculation."

In an effort to encourage neighbors to identify the person in the video, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement increased its reward for the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects involved in the murders from $25,000 to $35,000, Dugan said.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.