TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, once again, called on police officers to hunt down the “son of a b***h” who investigators believe is responsible for the random killings of three people in Seminole Heights.
“This guy is not going to win,” Buckhorn said while addressing officers during a special roll call Wednesday afternoon in Giddens Park. “He’s not taking over this neighborhood. You guys go hunt him down and bring his head to me.”
Buckhorn, alongside Interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, detailed the department’s increased presence in the neighborhood and the city’s heightened efforts to clear debris from alleyways and replace burned out streetlights, but provided little new information in the case.
“We are dead serious about this, we intend to bring this guy to justice and intend to stay here as long as it takes,” Buckhorn said.
Dugan thanked residents for rallying behind cops and each other. He said officers, both uniformed and undercover, continue to canvas and patrol the area.
Investigators are also revisiting old cases from the area to ensure no potential connections are missed, Dugan said. He said finding closure for the victims’ families is the driving force for his team.
“I think about Benjamin, about Monica and about Anthony,” he said. “Today, Christmas is eight weeks away and these are three families that are going to wake up Christmas morning without their loved ones. That’s not something that should be taken lightly.”
Police have cited “circumstances” and proximity of the killings as to why investigators believe the three cases are related, but they’ve stopped short of using the term “serial killer.”
When asked about it Wednesday, Dugan said he still was not comfortable using the term.
“We have purposely avoided that tag because I don’t want people to stereotype, to narrow their search,” he said.
“We don’t have enough information for those type of labels.”
The search continues for a person of interest wearing a hoodie seen in surveillance video in the area on the night of the first murder.
A $25,000 reward is being offered by Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay and ATF for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the killings.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.
© 2018 WTSP-TV