TAMPA, Fla. - Police chief Brian Dugan wants the amateur detectives to let the real detectives do their jobs.
Rumors are circulating as to who killed four people in Seminole Heights.
One rumor led Tampa police to have a conversation with a person.
"We have put this poor person through the wringer," Dugan said during a meeting with the NAACP on Thursday. "We believe their story."
Dugan admitted that the investigation has been challenging and that it's not moving as fast as he would like.
"I'm comfortable in saying all four are related and that the murders of Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Felton, that's the same person," he said during the meeting.
Each of the four victims were walking alone in the middle of the night, not connected to one another and killed within a half-mile of each other.
Tampa police have avoided describing the suspect as a "serial killer" to limit stereotypes.
But serial killers are not always a mentally ill "white loner," said Enzo Yaksic, co-director of a Northeastern University-based network focusing on serial and mass homicide.
The "white loner rule" has been proven true less than 20 percent of the time, he said, adding that killers with true mental illness do not have the skills and abilities to evade law enforcement.
When profiling a serial killer, the profile should be a guide for others to be on the lookout for, not interpret as fact, said Yaksic, who also forwarded his research to Tampa police.
© 2017 WTSP-TV