The Southeast Seminole Heights community is banding together after Tampa Police have identified a recent high school graduate with autism as the third victim of a killer targeting Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood.
Interim Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan says officers were patrolling the area of Northeast Seminole Heights around 8 p.m. on Thursday when they heard a possible gunshot. A short time later, they found Anthony Taino Naiboa, 20, shot dead on the sidewalk. Naiboa was found on N. 15th Street between E Conover Street and E Wilder Avenue.
Detectives believe the shooting is linked to the two shootings in the area that occurred last week.
Naiboa was killed only a few hundred feet from where Benjamin Mitchell, 22, was killed on October 9. Mitchell was murdered roughly one block north of where Naiboa was shot. A third victim, Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was shot and killed under a half mile away just last week.
Now, people across Seminole Heights are turning on their porch lights in an effort to light up the neighborhood, discouraging crime and making it easier for patrolling officers.
"When their light is on there, they can see who walks past more vividly," said Brianna Jackson, a Southeast Seminole Heights resident. "I feel like that will be more effective for people who own cameras, who can help the police out."
Police officers are also out in full force patrolling the Seminole Heights neighborhood. They also handed out light bulbs to neighbors. Officers are getting out and talking to people in the community, asking if they've seen anything.
Neighbors are also reviewing their own home surveillance cameras to see if they can see anything suspicious on the nights of the murders.
People in the community walked several blocks on Friday night in the Southeast Seminole Heights neighborhood. They requested police escorts.
"Of course last night was sort of a real shock for us and that's when we kind of decided it's time to mobilize and we need to take the night back here in the neighborhood," said neighbor Nathan Dufresne.
Detectives have not discovered any connection between the three victims. In each of the shootings, it appears the victim was alone and was not robbed. There is no apparent motive, according to TPD.
"We still have no leads, we have no motives," Chief Dugan said during the press conference. "It's clear to me that they're all linked."
Tampa Police have raised $25,000 for a Crime Stoppers reward and the SE Seminole Heights Association is adding another $1,000, with the hope that if they raise the amount. someone will come forward, according to Stan Lasater, with the Southeast Seminole Heights Neighborhood Watch.
"I think everybody's kind of in a bit of shock. We're trying to process this," said Dufresne.