TAMPA, FLORIDA — Without saying the actual term ‘serial killer’ during a community meeting, Tampa’s interim police chief, Brian Dugan, gave the public some information on three shootings that all happened within 2 weeks of each other. Worse, they all seem to be related.
The NY Times reports;
The first killing took place on Oct. 9.
Benjamin Mitchell, 22, a college student, was waiting at a bus stop near his house in Seminole Heights, a neighborhood in Tampa, Fla., when he was shot around 9 p.m.
Four days later, the body of Monica Hoffa, 32, was found in a vacant lot. She, too, had been shot.
And six days after that, a third resident, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot to death at another bus stop, about a block from where Mr. Mitchell was shot.
One fact is that each victim was alone when the shootings took place, and none of the victims seem to be connected to each other. Each shooting also took place in a quiet, historic neighborhood.
Being a Florida resident now, and a stone’s throw from Tampa, I’ve seen just how many people are armed in the Sunshine State. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to either has their permit or has a close friend or relative who does. It’s not the wild west, either. There are self-defense stories down here like there are cows on a farm. Every day, a Floridian is defending his or herself with a gun.
One can only hope that the person or persons responsible will soon pick a target that’s ready to fight back with the same or greater force.
“Everybody at this point is a suspect,” Chief Dugan told hundreds of residents gathered at an elementary school. “If you are out there walking alone, you are either a suspect or a potential victim.”
“There’s a very good likelihood that someone in this room knows who’s doing it,” he added.
I have a trip scheduled for Tampa later this week, and it’s in close proximity to these shootings. I’m ahead of the curve, though, because I won’t be alone and I’ll be armed.
A former FBI agent gave a phone interview on the subject and stated that there was very clear evidence of a serial killer, according to the FBI definition. We see a cooling off period in between shootings, and they seem to happen at the same time of day.
Mr. Mitchell was killed around 9 p.m. on Oct. 9 near North 15th Street while waiting at a bus stop. Ms. Hoffa, apparently, was killed two days later, also shot in the evening, about a half-mile from the first shooting. Her body was not found until Oct. 13. Mr. Naiboa, who had gotten off at the wrong bus stop, was shot on Oct. 19 around 8 p.m. on North 15th Street.
For anyone in the vicinity of these shootings, be mindful of your surroundings and try to travel with one or more people.
Also, carry a gun. There’s nothing that a criminal hates more than an armed target.