Will Seminole Heights tipster get whole $110,000 reward? Maybe not

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

It was the tip that gave police officers what they wanted.

It led them to the gun they say was used in all four Seminole Heights murders.

And a suspect now behind bars.

The person who gave them that tip is a manager at the Ybor City McDonalds, where they say 24-year-old Howell Donaldson III worked.

But will it be enough for the manager to receive the more than $100,000 that was pledged to the person who's tip would lead to an arrest?

“The co-worker opened a bag and saw a gun and gave the bag to a police officer that was in Mcdonald’s. That was the info we were looking for. That’s what we needed,” says Chief Brian Dugan of the Tampa Police Department.

"We are going to sift through everything and see what rewards will be appropriate," Dugan said.

According to Tampa police, the money came from everywhere — law enforcement partners contributed $85,000 and the community raised an additional $6,000.

Police say they will let each entity know their thoughts on what led to an arrest and it will be up to that organization on how they disperse the money. Some groups' policy is that they won't give money until there is a conviction

Richard Gonzmart, owner of the Columbia restaurant group who pledged $9,000, saw no need to wait, however.

"I don't know policy, but I know as a citizen I made a commitment," he said. "I'm proud we have the killer in jail."

So that's what he did — he wrote out his check and marched into that McDonald's and straight to that manager. 

'She felt like she did what was right. She has a family of six people (and it) took a lot of courage for her. And I don't think she didn't do it for a reward and that's what makes it more special," Gonzmart said.

As a Tampa resident and business owner, Gonzmart says it's thanks to her that the man keeping him and so many other awake at night is now behind bars.

'She doesn't look at herself as a hero," he said, his voice catching with emotion. "And how does she not look at herself as a hero?"

Tampa Police say as of Wednesday night, the distribution of reward money is still being determined.

There will be a payout, but it likely won't happen all at once and that will depend on when all the details are in place.

Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization funded by private donations and donates up to $3,000 for tips leading to arrest. Its website says to send in a tip, you have to call, give an online tip, or use the app. 

 We're hearing since the manager did not do either of those three, Crime Stoppers is still trying to figure out if the McDonald's manager will get that $3,000.

We also spoke with the Brew Bus, who along with the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association and Liberty Property Management raised $5,000 in hopes that the money would lead to an arrest.

They told us the money should absolutely go to her.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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