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Tampa police: Finding gun was key in arrest in 4 slayings

  • This booking photo provided by the Tampa Police Department, Fla., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, shows Howell Emanuel Donaldson. Donaldson, the suspect in a string of four slayings that terrorized a Tampa neighborhood was arrested after he brought a loaded gun to his job at a McDonald's and asked a co-worker to hold it, authorities said. (Tampa Police Department via AP)

  • Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, center, along with Mayor Bob Buckhorn, right, announce that they intend to charge Howell Emanuel Donaldson, 24, with four counts of first degree murder in connection with the Seminole Heights homicides, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Police detained the man earlier Tuesday after a tip that he had a gun at a McDonald's. Four people have been killed in the neighborhood since Oct. 9. (Chris Urso/Tampa Bay Times via AP) CHRIS URSO

  • Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan holds a news conference in a parking lot behind the Ybor City McDonalds on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Police were questioning an employee at the McDonald's in Ybor City about a gun he brought to the restaurant. Dugan said this development could be connected to the investigation into the Seminole Heights murders. (Octavio Jones/Tampa Bay Times via AP) OCTAVIO JONES | Times

  • Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan holds a news conference in a parking lot behind the Ybor City McDonalds on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. Police were questioning an employee at the McDonald's in Ybor City about a gun he brought to the restaurant. Dugan said this development could be connected to the investigation into the Seminole Heights murders. (Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Tampa Bay Times via AP) GABRIELLA ANGOTTI-JONES | Times

  • This undated photo provided by the Tampa Police Department shows Howell Emanuel Donaldson. Police in Tampa say they have arrested, Donaldson, 24, and will charge him with murder in a string of recent homicides. Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan says Donaldson will be charged with four counts of first degree murder in connection with deaths in the Seminole Heights neighborhood. (Tampa Police Department via AP)



Associated Press
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

A recent college graduate who was charged in four slayings that terrorized a Tampa neighborhood over the past 51 days used the same gun in all of the shootings and targeted people near bus stops with “no apparent motive,” a police chief said Wednesday.

The crack in the case came Tuesday when Howell Emanuel Donaldson, 24, brought a bag with a loaded handgun in it to his job at a McDonald’s and asked a co-worker to hold it while he went across the street, authorities said.

Restaurant workers thought that was odd and when Donaldson left, they reported the gun to a police officer, setting off an investigation that linked Donaldson to the shootings. Aside from matching shell casings at the shootings, authorities said location data from Donaldson’s cellphone put him at the scene of at least three of the killings.

The arrest overnight brought relief to an anxious community worried about a serial killer. The first shooting happened Oct. 9, followed by two more shooting deaths. By Halloween, the fear was so great that police escorted children while trick-or-treating. The fourth killing happened earlier this month.