Murders of Florida Bus Riders Have Police Hunting a Killer

3 unconnected victims fatally shot over 11 days in Tampa neighborhood
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2017 2:41 PM CDT
Police Aren't Ruling Out Serial Killer in 3 Florida Murders
Tampa police are attempting to identity this person in connection with three murders in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.   (Tampa Police Department)

When asked Friday if Tampa has a serial killer on the loose, police chief Brian Dugan didn't deny the possibility. "We can call it what we want," the Tampa Bay Times quotes Dugan as saying. "If that brings attention to it, that's fine." Three people have been killed in the Florida city's Seminole Heights neighborhood over the past 11 days. The victims aren't connected to each other and none were doing anything wrong when they were killed, but Dugan says there's "no doubt" the murders are related. Police say all three victims were shot while they were alone at night. And all three were regular bus riders shot at or near bus stops. The three murders happened within a mile of each other.

Benjamin Mitchell, a 22-year-old believed to be the first victim, was shot and killed Oct. 9 while waiting for a bus. The body of the second victim, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was found in a vacant lot Oct. 11. And on Thursday, 20-year-old Anthony Naiboa, who was autistic, was killed after accidentally taking the wrong bus home from work and ending up in Seminole Heights. Dugan says police, who had "blanketed the area" after the first two killings, heard the shots that killed Naiboa, but the shooter still managed to escape. He says from now on anyone walking alone in Seminole Heights will be considered a potential victim or suspect, WTSP reports. Police have no motive or suspect, though they are attempting to identity a person seen in grainy surveillance footage. A $25,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest or conviction. (More murder stories.)

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