TAMPA, Fla. — It's been nearly four years since Tampa's Seminole Heights neighborhood experienced a series of murders that resulted in the devastating loss of four people.
When Tampa Police announced the capture of the suspected serial killer, Howell Donaldson III, people living across Seminole Heights heard the ringing of church bells. For many, it was the first time they felt comfortable walking outside at night after months of precautions.
Pastor Matt Horan, who then was serving as the pastor for Seminole Heights United Methodist Church, located at Hanna Avenue and Central Avenue in Tampa, was the one who rang the church bells.
Now, Horan has written a book, "Church Bells at Midnight," detailing the collective experience of the neighborhood during those months of terror dealing with a serial killer, and how the church served as a safe touchpoint for the neighborhood. It also honors the four people who lost their lives in the deadly shootings.
"I know that their families continue to miss them," Horan said. "It's my privilege to try to take their lives and their deaths and give them some purpose after the fact. I think it'll make a difference."
The state is seeking the death penalty against Donaldson, who is accused of shooting and killing Monica Hoffa, 32, Anthony Naiboa, 20, Benjamin Mitchell, 22, and Ronald Felton, 60.