TAMPA, FLORIDA - A McDonald's employee who turned in the gun belonging to a suspected serial killer in Tampa will receive more than $100,000 in reward money.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was arrested Tuesday after he left a bag containing a loaded gun with a co-worker Tuesday afternoon. The manager, Delonda Walker, contacted a police officer.
Tampa police chief Brian Dugan said the same gun was used in all four Seminole Heights slayings in October and November and was the crucial clue police needed to arrest the suspect.
"She will receive all $110,000. That was the reward that was put up. She will receive every penny of that," said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn read a statement from Walker at the news conference Friday. It said, "I went to work on Tuesday intending to serve customers and do my job. The day turned out very differently. When confronted with this situation, I wanted to do the right thing and I reached out to a nearby police officer. Receiving a reward never entered my mind.
Looking back, I am grateful to know I was helpful in assisting law enforcement. I hope you can understand, that out of respect for the continuing investigation as well as the victims and their families, I will not be answering questions. But, please know I appreciate all the well wishes and kind words from our community."
Co-workers at the Tampa-area McDonald's restaurant where Donaldson worked say they teased him about his resemblance to the shadowy figure in surveillance video released weeks ago by police.
"We would tease him and say he was the killer, because he looked like the pictures," Gail Rogers, who has worked for four years at the Ybor City McDonalds, told the Tampa Bay Times.
"I called him the killer to his face," Rogers said. "He didn't like that."
Tampa police released surveillance footage in October that showed a man wearing a hoodie walking in the Tampa neighborhood where a victim was shot. Dugan said investigators recovered a jacket and hoodie in Donaldson's car that appeared to match those worn by the suspect seen in publicly released surveillance video.
Dugan said Donaldson admitted owning the gun, but did not confess to the four seemingly random killings of Benjamin Edward Mitchell, Monica Caridad Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton. Mitchell, 22, became the first victim on Oct. 9. Two days after Mitchell was shot, Hoffa, 32, was gunned down. On Oct. 19, Naiboa, 20, was shot after taking the wrong bus home from his new job.
All of the October victims were either getting on or off a city bus, or were at a bus stop when they were shot, police said. Police found the body of Felton, 60, in the street on Nov. 14. Police said Felton had been walking across the street to meet someone when the gunman came up behind him and fired.
"All four murders were ruthlessly committed," Dugan said. "All four murders were related with no apparent motive."
Donaldson, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, remained in jail under no bond following a Thursday morning court appearance.
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