Now that police have arrested a suspect in the Seminole Heights homicides, the question remains whether or not anyone will receive the reward money from Crime Stoppers.
A McDonald's employee turned over a bag with a gun to a TPD officer inside the restaurant, sparking the chain of events that led to the suspect's arrest.
The McDonald's employee, Delonda Walker, released the following statement:
“As you can imagine, I am overwhelmed and surprised by yesterday’s events and I understand why many are interested in speaking with me. At this time, I am speaking exclusively with police and am appreciative that they were nearby and quickly acted upon the information I discovered and shared with the police officer. I am also appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community. My thoughts are focused on the victims and their families and out of respect for them and the active investigation, please direct inquiries to the Tampa Police Department.”
General Manager, Ybor McDonald’s
Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay originally said she was not eligible for the Crime Stoppers reward money because she did not actually call the tip line, but they have sent out a statement saying that the Board of Directors approved the allocated reward money to be paid.
They said that although the reward did not meet the criteria to be paid through the grant, it was decided it would be paid with money donated to the Crime Stoppers program for firearms related crimes.
But that was only $5,000 of the reward money.
Richard Gonzmart personally delivered a $9,000 check to the woman, making good on his promise to contribute to the reward.
Other agencies that offered money can still make their own decision about how they want to handle their own committed amounts.
Here is a list of the money she may still be eligible for:
- David A. Straz Jr. Foundation is offering a reward of for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these homicide cases.
- Rise Tampa is offering a reward of for information leading to the arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these homicide cases.
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is offering a reward of for information leading to the arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these homicide cases.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is offering a reward of for information leading to the arrest of the unknown suspect(s) involved in these homicide cases.
Former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, said Walker "deserves every penny." But, explained that in that scenario Crime Stoppers wasn't the right agency to call to report the gun as things were happening in the moment.
"That organization is sort of for the day to day information that can come in and solve crimes," Castor said. "They have very very strict procedure and protocol for good reason so they can protect the anonymity of witnesses or individuals with information coming forward."
The FBI sent ABC Action News the following statement:
"Whether or not the reward money is paid, and to whom, is not information law enforcement will share with the public. The FBI offers monetary rewards to incentivize the public to come forward with tips and information when they have information that law enforcement is seeking to further an investigation and keep the public safe. The FBI has paid and continues to pay out reward money to tipsters who have provided valuable information."
We have not heard back from ATF.
The FDLE tells us they will gladly be paying the $10,000 reward once police determine who deserves it.
But, we do know the reward amount is subject to restrictions imposed by each providing agency.