Police release new video in Seminole Heights murders
Via TPD; highlighting by FOX 13
TAMPA (FOX 13) - Tampa Police hope a new piece of surveillance video released Thursday will help them break open the case of a possible serial killer in Seminole Heights.
The video is the second half of a clip released Oct. 12, three days after Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was murdered while waiting at a bus stop on N. 15th Street. The original video shows a person walking toward Mitchell, dressed in a hooded sweatshirt or jacket and using a cell phone.
The new clip shows that same person running away from the scene of the shooting just after Mitchell was shot.
"The cop in me says, 'why are you running seconds after the murder of Benjamin Mitchell?'" Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan asked. "I've come up with four reasons why this person is running: One, they may be late for dinner; two, they're out exercising; three, they heard gunshots; and number four, they just murdered Benjamin Mitchell."
In the days after Mitchell's death, police believe the same killer shot Monica Hoffa, 32, and Anthony Naiboa, 20, all within a few blocks of one another.
Dugan said, although the person in the video is not yet considered a suspect, it's suspicious that he or she hasn't hasn't come forward in the two weeks since the first clip was released to the media.
"We're not saying that this person is a suspect. But why, after this long, we've had this video out there for so long, why have they not come forward?" Dugan asked during an afternoon news conference.
He also zeroed in on another point in the video where the person can be seen flipping a phone in his or her hand. The chief believes this, combined with the person's attire and manner of walking, is a potentially identifying clue.
"If that were me in that video, I would have to believe that my neighbors would be able to identify me," he said. "We need names, not speculation. We need people to tell us, 'this is who I think it is.'"
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn watched the video and echoed the chief's thoughts.
"That person in that video knows something or saw something or was involved in something," Buckhorn said. "The no-snitch culture has got to stop. We need to know. You have to talk to us. You've got to tell us what you know. All you're doing is protecting a killer."
Dugan said detectives are still sifting through hours of surveillance videos from homes and businesses in the areas where Naiboa and Hoffa were killed.
The reward for information leading to an arrest in this case is now up to $35,000.