$25K reward offered after 3 separate killings in Seminole Heights

Seminole Heights is on edge after police say three recent murders in the Tampa neighborhood are connected.

TAMPA, Fla. – The Tampa interim police chief identified a murder victim killed Thursday night in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.  It makes three killings in less than two weeks with no arrests.

Police found Anthony Naiboa, 20, dead on North 15th Street near East Conover Street around 8 p.m. Thursday, according to Interim Chief Brian Dugan.

"Anthony last night was at work. He took the wrong bus to this neighborhood," Dugan said. "He should not have been in this neighborhood."

Police are investigating three suspicious deaths - on Oct. 9, Oct. 13 and Oct. 19 - in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. Dugan said police believe the three deaths are related.

“When you look at the timeframe, the proximity, that there is no apparent motive, that they are alone, the victims are a lot of the time, it's clear to me that they're all linked,” Dugan said.

"I go from frustration to anger on these unsolved homicides," Dugan said. "Now we have someone terrorizing the neighborhood."

On Friday morning, Dugan urged Seminole Heights residents to review video the police department released on Oct. 13. The video shows a man who could help solve the Oct. 9 homicide of Brian Mitchell.

"Do not assume this is a white person. Do not assume this is a black person," Dugan said. "Do not assume it's a {man}."

Dugan said Tampa police do not have any leads or motives on the homicides as of Friday morning. He also recommended residents to turn on their porch lights and to stay in groups outside.

"We're not going to be held hostage," Dugan said.

Dugan warned people not to walk alone in the Seminole Heights neighborhood after Mitchell's homicide and the Oct. 11 homicide of Monica Hoffa. Police found Hoffa dead on Oct. 13.

Naiboa's murder happened between 200-300 yards of Mitchell's house, according to Dugan.

As a result of the first two murders, Tampa police had already saturated the neighborhood. They got to the scene of the Thursday's shooting in minutes. They brought in the dogs and called in the SWAT team. However, the suspect has already gotten away.

“We instantaneously had a perimeter set up last night. I was convinced that we were going to catch this person,” Dugan said.

Dugan said law enforcement needed the public's help in finding who is responsible for the crimes.

"There's no doubt in my mind that this person is out there, and it's frustrating and it makes me angry that they're able to vanish so quickly," Dugan said.

The shootings have frightened people living and working in the area.

Just a few blocks away, at a stretch of trendy stores and restaurants along Nebraska Avenue, there is concern customers could stay away.

“People will be scared to come in,” said Marez George, who works at a local cafe. “Especially, I'm not talking about just this restaurant, the area itself. Like me, I'm scared to come around this area now,” she said.

Investigators are now checking area houses and businesses looking for security cameras that might have captured images around the time of the shootings.

Dugan described the shooter as an animal and a terrorist, but stopped short of using the words ‘serial killer’.

“We are still sifting through evidence,” he said. “We can call it what we want. If that brings attention to this, that's fine.”

Anyone with information on the crimes is asked to call the police. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Crime Stoppers are also offering an $25,000 reward for tipsters at 1(800)873-8477.

Last year, there was one murder in Seminole Heights and 14 shootings. From January through September of this year, there were no murders and five shootings.

Watch: Click or tap here to watch Friday morning's news conference in its entirety

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