TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa's Interim Police Chief is devoting as many officers as possible to patrol the Southeast Seminole Heights community as well as the entire city.
Chief Brian Dugan said they have cancelled any vacation scheduled for his commanders until the killer or killers are caught. On a weekly basis, they will also decide whether to cancel any of his officers' training sessions in order to make sure there are plenty of them patrolling Seminole Heights and every community in Tampa. He said this applies on Halloween and every other day.
"We have to defend the entire city and I promise you that we have everyone spread out. We have FHP coming in to help us and we have reached out and I'm very confident that the entire city is going to be safe," Dugan said.
According to police, someone or a group of people murdered Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, and Anthony Naiboa in Southeast Seminole Heights. Chief Dugan said the cases are connected.
"Whoever (has) done this, we need them to step forward so that we can get them the help that they may need and help these families who are suffering through this," Dugan said.
Since the investigation started, the police department has received about 1,200 tips, including names. The chief said they are following those leads. They have also received more video recently, but the chief said nothing has turned up.
"Even though there is a sense of urgency, you have to be very methodical in your whole approach to things to make sure you aren't missing something," Dugan said.
By Thursday, officers will have knocked on nearly 2,000 doors in the community, asking questions that may help move their investigation forward.
"We're working hard. We haven't given up hope yet," Dugan said.
The chief said they want to identify a person of interest in their investigation. The person is not a suspect, but the chief said they need to speak with them immediately. According to Chief Dugan, the person of interest was in the area around the time Benjamin Mitchell was murdered.