October 26, 2017
The mayor of Tampa told police officers looking for a suspect in three fatal and apparently random shootings in one neighborhood to hunt him down and "bring his head to me."
News outlets report that Mayor Bob Buckhorn addressed the officers Wednesday afternoon during a roll call in Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood where two men and one woman have been gunned down while walking since Oct. 9. The killings have lead to fears of a possible serial killer.
"Bring his head to me, all right?" Buckhorn said. "Let's go get it done."
Buckhorn and interim police Chief Brian Dugan told the officers they've brought "a sense of calmness" to the terrorized neighborhood near downtown Tampa. Then, officers headed out by patrol car, bicycle and on foot to resume patrols.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the mayor and police chief talked afterward to reporters, detailing the work that's been done but offering no new details in the unsolved killings that began Oct. 9 when Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was shot. Two days later Monicoa Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. Police patrolling in the neighborhood actually heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene to find Naiboa dead.
All three victims, who didn't know each other, rode the bus and were alone when they were shot on the street, authorities said. None of the victims was robbed.
Over the past few weeks, Tampa Electric Co. and public works teams have been cutting foliage, boarding up vacant buildings and replaced burnt-out street lights in the area, the mayor said.
"We're going to shine a very, very bright light on this community," Buckhorn said.
Police have asked residents to keep porch lights on in the neighborhood at night.
The chief promised nervous parents that the community will be safe for Halloween next week.
"I'm gonna go out there," he said. "I'll be personally on patrol, and you know what? If somebody wants to walk with me, they can walk with me. I'll walk with their family and get candy with them. I might even take some of their candy."