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Police arrest possible ‘serial killer’ over four Florida shooting deaths

Wednesday - 29/11/2017 11:29
A US man said to be responsible for a string of shooting deaths that terrorised Florida has been arrested after he brought a gun to the McDonald’s where he worked.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson, 24, was arrested in conjunction with a string of shooting murders that shocked Florida. Picture: Tampa Police Department via APSource:AP
Howell Emanuel Donaldson, 24, was arrested in conjunction with a string of shooting murders that shocked Florida. Picture: Tampa Police Department via APSource:AP

POLICE have arrested a man and said they will charge him with murder in a string of killings that terrorised a Florida city.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan announced at a press conference that Howell Emanuel Donaldson, 24, would be charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

Police seal off a Florida McDonald’s where a man was arrested in conjunction with four murders. Picture: Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Tampa Bay Times via AP
Police seal off a Florida McDonald’s where a man was arrested in conjunction with four murders. Picture: Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Tampa Bay Times via APSource:AP

The tip that led police to Donaldson overnight came from one of his co-workers at a local McDonalds, which is near the Seminole Heights neighbourhood that has seen four fatal shootings since early October.

News outlets reported that Donaldson asked an employee at the restaurant to hold a bag with a loaded semiautomatic gun while he went to a nearby shop. The employee told her manager about the gun and the manager alerted a Tampa police officer who also happened to be in McDonald’s.

When Donaldson returned to the restaurant, police were waiting. Local TV news station WFLA, citing an arrest report, said a search of Donaldson’s mobile phone found location data that indicated three days of recorded times and activities corresponding with the first three shootings on October 9, October 11 and October 19.

Howell Emanuel Donaldson was arrested at the McDonald’s where he worked. Picture: Tampa Police Department via AP
Howell Emanuel Donaldson was arrested at the McDonald’s where he worked. Picture: Tampa Police Department via APSource:AP

The arrest report said police found clothing inside Donaldson’s car that was similar to what was worn by a person spotted in surveillance video taken the night of the first shooting.

Donaldson told investigators he was unfamiliar with the neighbourhood where the shootings occurred. He then asked for a lawyer, but arrest records don’t list one.

Speaking on Good Morning America, Chief Dugan said police still don’t have a motive for the shootings and will be seeking help from the public as they try to learn more about Donaldson. Dugan also said he had spoken with Donaldson.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, said authorities still don’t have a motive for the killings. Picture: Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, said authorities still don’t have a motive for the killings. Picture: Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via APSource:AP

“He was pretty non-responsive; wasn’t angry,” Dugan said. “It was a very subdued, strange behaviour in my opinion. But whoever does something like this, Lord knows what’s driving them.”

Residents and police had been on edge since October 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was slain. And on October 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. On November 14, 60-year-old Ronald Felton was killed.

Police investigate at the scene following the arrest of a suspected serial killer. Picture: Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Tampa Bay Times via AP
Police investigate at the scene following the arrest of a suspected serial killer. Picture: Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Tampa Bay Times via APSource:AP

All of the October victims were either getting on or off a bus, or were at a bus stop when they were shot, police said.

Dugan said the department had received more than 5000 tips. He thanked those who called in the tip that led to Donaldson’s arrest.

Source: News Corp Australia Network:

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