NewsHillsborough County


Volunteers light up Seminole Heights homes following arrest of alleged serial killer

Bringing holiday cheer with Christmas lights
Posted at 8:44 PM, Dec 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 02:36:03-05

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Christmas spirit in Seminole Heights is still in full effect with volunteers going door-to-door installing Christmas lights.

ABC Action News followed them and got a sense of just how this is going deeper than decorations.


Light Up the Heights first started as a plan to help catch a killer. The South Seminole Heights Neighborhood Watch and the Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association are leading an effort to turn fear into joy.

"Everybody is in such great spirits since the killer is off the streets. You kind of hear a collective sigh of relief." said Stan Lasater, the President of Southeast Seminole Heights Civic Association. "It's to where you see the dogs walking again, you see people out walking with their kids again."


In the tense 51-days where Tampa Police searched for their killer, they complained this neighborhood was just too dark. This past week, a burden now lifted off this community when Howell Donaldson was arrested for killing four people in separate incidents in Seminole Heights.


"We are so happy we're celebrating that they've caught the killer. We remembering the families," said Lasater.
He's lived in the area for 25 years. Lasater says folks are far as Brooksville have drive up to donate lights. Plus, a leading lighting company even donated 100 light strands.


"Everybody kind of stepped up and said we're not going to let this make our neighborhood feel unsafe or bad," said volunteer Patrick Guyer.

Neighbors are responding to their efforts.


"People are starting to call us saying either, we don't have the money or the ability or the resources to hang lights," said Lasater.


This Saturday and Sunday they're bringing light to more than 20 homes and growing.


"In every single case the person was so grateful, almost in tears," said Guyer.
A big finale is happening December 10th. A motorcycle ride will honor the victims.Volunteers will keep installing lights throughout the week. If you'd like their help call or text the SE Seminole Heights Civic Association at 813-421-9644.