Tampa serial killer case: Man arrested, faces 4 first-degree murder charges in fatal shootings

By: WFTV.com

Updated:

TAMPA, Fla. - A 24-year-old man was arrested Tuesday in connection with four fatal shootings in Florida, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.

>> Read more trending news 

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was detained around 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at a McDonald’s restaurant in Ybor City, where he worked, Dugan said.

Donaldson had handed a coworker a McDonald's bag with a loaded .40 caliber Glock pistol inside of it and told the coworker he planned to leave the state, Dugan said. The coworker approached a police officer who was at the restaurant.

Donaldson returned a short while later and was detained by the police officer, Dugan said.

Police said Donaldson gave officers permission to search his vehicle and his cellphone and to examine his gun, which he legally purchased Oct. 3. He was taken to police headquarters for questioning.

Four people have been shot and killed in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since Oct. 9, but detectives had not determined Donaldson's connection to the area, nor have they established a motive, Dugan said.

>> On WFTV.com: Watch: Surveillance footage of possible suspect in Tampa homicides

Police said Donaldson was cooperative and admitted to owning the gun, but he didn't admit to the shootings.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn did not mince words when he took the podium during a press conference Tuesday.

"I want the process to take its place," Buckhorn said. "If he is found to be guilty, he should die. It's that simple."

>> Visit WFTV.com for the latest on this developing story

While investigators haven't determined the Seminole Heights neighborhood was targeted, Buckhorn said Tuesday that he was glad Donaldson was off the street.

"Tonight, we're bringing someone to justice who doesn't deserve the right to walk amongst us," he said.

Police have said the shootings have happened within close proximity of each other, are not robberies and could be the work of a serial killer.

Police received 5,000 tips in the case, Dugan said. On Wednesday, he praised Donaldson's coworker for reporting the gun to police, and he said the coworker might receive a reward.

Donaldson was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on four counts of first-degree murder.

Police have said the shootings have happened within close proximity of each other, are not robberies and could be the work of a serial killer.

Police received 5,000 tips in the case, Dugan said. On Wednesday, he praised Donaldson's coworker for reporting the gun to police, and he said the coworker might receive a reward.

Donaldson was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on four counts of first-degree murder.

Next Up: