HART changing bus route in wake of Seminole Heights killings

Police escorts available for customers

TAMPA, Fla. - Public transportation officials in Tampa making changes to a Seminole Heights bus route as investigators continue their search for a killer. 

A memorial for Benjamin Mitchell is now growing at a bust stop at North 15th Avenue and Frierson. 

Police are investigating two shooting deaths that took place just days apart along HART's route 9, which runs along North 15th Avenue. 

RELATED | Seminole Heights killer: What we know about the 3 murders Tampa police say are linked

"There's a lot of danger in the neighborhood going on," said longtime bus rider KD Boyd. 

Boyd uses the number 9 bus everyday and now realizes he could have been the one killed. 

"I believe the autistic young man was there at that bus stop where I always stand," said Boyd. "It angers me that someone is running around my neighborhood shooting people, killing people for no ungodly reason other than to do it."

As the hunt for a killer continues, HART tells ABC Action News that it is working with Tampa police to keep customers and drivers safe.

"People are more scared to ride the bus now," said Travis Edwards. 

HART is changing route 9 during night time hours between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. The detour takes the bus away from North 15th and uses route 12 on 22nd street between route 32 on MLK and and route 34 on Hillsborough avenue.

"They're still going to have to take me around and drop me off where i've got to ride 5 or 6 blocks longer, you know, out in the open," said Boyd. 

Some riders now feeling more exposed than ever, forced to walk farther to get home or catch the bus during overnight hours.

"They're bait now, that's the way I look at it," said Boyd. 

HART says police officers are available for anyone who needs an escort after getting off of a bus. 

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