Tension remains high in the Seminole Heights area of Tampa as a killer remains on the loose.
- Residents held vigil for murder victims
- Three people were killed in separate attacks in last 2 weeks
- Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn said police are out in full force
- Edison Elementary, 1607 East Curtis St., Tampa
But residents in the area are trying to gain a sense of security by banding together.
Hundreds of Seminole Heights residents marched in the streets by candlelight Sunday night, holding a vigil for the three neighborhood residents killed in separate shootings in the last two weeks.
Anthony Naiboa, Benjamin Mitchell and Monica Hoffa were all gunned down along and near North 15th Street in separate incidents. Police are investigating but there has been no arrests or suspects identified.
"This is personal"
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.
"It is families torn apart because of what this man did to us or whomever it is did to us," one family member told the crowd tearfully.
Chief Dugan said he is trying to release as much information as possible so the community can be on alert. He added it's possible someone knows something about the killings, but doesn't realize it.
"I'm not trying to be dramatic. This is real. This isn't a "made for tv" movie," he said.
He also cautioned against stereotyping serial killers as white males, similar to Ted Bundy.
"This pains me to tell you that if you're out there walking alone that you're either a suspect or a potential victim," Dugan said.
Buckhorn cautioned the crowd that it may be a long-term investigation.
Photo: Laurie Davison
Naiboa's parents said they were happy to see such a large turnout for the meeting.
"We're not alone and they're supporting us and they're actually helping us stand up and encouraging not only our families that are hurt but everyone else in the community to do what's best and do what's right," Maria Rodriguez said.
Buckhorn was in the neighborhood yesterday as well as police continued canvassing the area with stepped up patrols. 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.