Seminole Heights remains on edge as murder investigations continue

By Digital Media Team,
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 1:19 PM EDT

The search for a suspected killer continued Tuesday in Seminole Heights.

  • Community forum held on Seminole Heights murders
  • Three people were killed in separate attacks in last 2 weeks
  • Police are out in full force, investigations ongoing 

On Monday evening, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Interim Police Chief Brian Dugan led the discussion at a community forum at Edison Elementary School to calm fears and inform citizens. 

"This is personal and we're not going to stop until the person responsible is caught," said Buckhorn.

Three people have been shot to death in the past two weeks within a 1-mile radius in the normally quiet Seminole Heights neighborhood. Police believe the shootings are linked by proximity and time frame, but they don't have a motive or a suspect.

Neighborhood residents and family members of the victims also spoke at the meeting.

"He was going to cash his check and take us all out to dinner to celebrate his job, " said Taino Naiboa, the younger brother of victim Anthony Naiboa. "I want people to know that (the killer) has taken something very precious from us. He has destroyed our family."

"He was a sweet boy," said Naiboa's mother, Carmen Rodriguez. "He never bothered anybody."

The three victims did not know each other, but all three rode the bus and were alone when they were shot on the street. None were robbed.

Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed on Oct. 9. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa was killed in a vacant lot. Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot and killed Oct. 19.

Police said they do not have a lot of leads. 

City officials are taking precautions and have spent the past few days cutting down shrubs, clearing alleys and checking that street lights are working. 

Officers have been out in force this week in the morning and evening hours, even helping escort children to and from schools and bus stops. 

"This pains me to tell you that if you're out there walking alone that you're either a suspect or a potential victim," said Dugan.

Guardian Angels also are walking through the neighborhood.

Police are asking residents to turn their porch lights on at night, avoid walking alone and report anything suspicious.

Police have released surveillance video of a person seen walking in the neighborhood the night of one of the murders. CrimeStoppers is offering a $25,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest.