Many people in Southeast Seminole Heights woke up to find armed FBI agents at their doorsteps following a fourth shooting death police say may be connected to three recent killings just blocks away.
Since the shooting deaths, Southeast Seminole Heights has been a neighborhood on edge.
‘Knowing they haven’t caught anybody,” one woman told ABC Action News. “They don’t know what they look like. It’s like they’re chasing somebody that ain’t even out there.”
Tampa Police were out in full force Tuesday morning, setting up an extensive perimeter. They stopped anyone trying to go in or out, checking IDs as well as searching inside drivers’ cars and trunks.
“Asking for an ID, license, and then they’re checking the trunk of their cars,” said Patricia Thomas, a neighbor who lives near one of the police perimeters.
She said she saw one woman trying to come back through the perimeter to the neighborhood after a night of work, but couldn’t get her car trunk open when police tried to search it.
“Her trunk was stuck somehow,” Thomas said. “So they told her to park it, so it’s parked at the store right now.”
Thomas said the woman was not allowed to pass through the police checkpoint with her vehicle.
“That’s how serious it is,” she said.
ABC Action News also caught up with FBI tactical teams who were going door-to-door within the perimeter. Armed agents asked people to open up as they meticulously searched homes and yards.
Families tell ABC Action News they are feeling scared but understand why the police presence needs to take such an aggressive stance.
“The only way to contain a situation like this is to know the neighborhood,” said Johnnie Reynolds, a resident.
Many children in Southeast Seminole Heights were unable to go to school today as they were instructed not to leave their homes if they lived within the perimeter.
Hillsborough High School, Edison Elementary and several other schools in the area were on “lock-in” also. That means access to the campus is limited and there are no outdoor activities, according to the school district.
Dismissal went as normally planned.
School district leaders are asking families in the neighborhood near the shooting to not let their children walk to and from school alone for the time being. Police will be in the area on Wednesday morning, a school district Twitter post read.
Many adults couldn’t leave for work for hours or run errands for hours also.
The police perimeter opened up around 3:45 PM, however police will still be in the area patrolling throughout the night.