Man writes $9K check to worker whose tip led to Seminole Heights suspect's arrest

Each organization who offered part of a $110,000 award will decide when and how much to pay the woman.

TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay restauranteur Richard Gonzmart gave a $9,000 check to the Ybor City McDonald’s restaurant employee who turned over a gun to the police, which led to the arrest of the Seminole Heights murder suspect.

Gonzmart, who owns the Columbia Restaurant chain, delivered the check to the worker in-person on Wednesday morning.

“It took a lot of courage for her to call Tampa police,” Gonzmart said. “I don’t think she did for a reward. That’s what makes it even more special.”

Gonzmart’s contribution is part of the $110,000 reward raised by law enforcement and the community to give to the tipster who provided information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect involved in the Seminole Heights killing.

On Tuesday, a worker at the McDonald’s on 13th Avenue in Ybor City reported to police that Howell Emanuel Donaldson III handed over a food bag with the same type of gun inside. The gun was loaded with five unfired rounds of SIG brand Smith and Wesson .40-caliber ammunition.

Donaldson told the employee he was leaving town and not to open the bag before he left. 

The McDonald’s worker checked the bag and called the police.

Donaldson, 24, is charged with four counts of felony first-degree murder in the killings of Benjamin Edward Mitchell on Oct. 9, Monica Caridad Hoffa on Oct. 11, Anthony Naiboa on Oct. 19 and Ronald Felton on Nov. 14.

Donaldson's arraignment is set for Thursday morning.

No word on when the tipster will be rewarded the additional $101,000.

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