TAMPA, FL — One of the most intense dragnets in city history ended Tuesday with a tip to a police officer sitting in a McDonald’s doing her paperwork. The tip eventually led to the arrest of Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, who is accused of randomly killing four people between 9 October and 14 November in Tampa.
According to police, the 24-year-old was detained on Tuesday afternoon at a branch of the burger restaurant where he had reportedly worked for two months. He had asked a manager to hold on to his loaded 9mm handgun, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The manager, unsure of how to respond, spoke to officer who happened to be inside the restaurant.
Backup was called and during questioning, police said Donaldson fit the suspect of the unsolved homicides. Donaldson has since been charged with 4 counts of first degree murder.
All four victims were either boarding or disembarking from a bus at the time they were shot:
Benjamin Mitchell, 22, a musician, was shot dead on October 9th while waiting at a bus stop.
Monica Hoffa, 32, a waitress, was gunned down on October 11th while walking to meet a friend.
Anthony Naiboa, 20, a mild autism sufferer, was fatally shot on October 19th while walking home from work.
Ronald Felton, 60, a construction worker was killed on November 14th.
Police say the suspect had also “expressed his intention to leave the state” and are grateful to all the help the community provided.