TAMPA — The third victim in a string of killings in Seminole Heights was a 20-year-old man shot dead after he got off the No. 9 bus, interim Police Chief Brian Dugan said Friday.
Anthony Naiboa, a graduate of Middleton High School, got off at the wrong bus stop after work and was walking north on 15th Street to another bus stop when he was shot, Dugan said. Officers on patrol in the area heard the shots and rushed to the area, but by then the shooter was gone. Naiboa died at North 15th and Conover streets, about 100 yards from one of the other shootings.
"You can imagine the frustration of these officers to hear gunshots and not be able to find this person," Dugan said. "He was in the prime of his life and was taken instantly."
Dugan said investigators have no leads and no suspects, but it's clear that "someone is terrorizing the neighborhood."
He repeated his call to the community to review surveillance video of a person recorded walking in the area when the first murder occurred. Investigators want to know what the person saw and eliminate him or her as a suspect.
He said all three killings appear to be connected because of their proximity to one another, the timing of the murders and the lack of apparent motive.
"It's clear to me that they're all linked," Dugan said.
Dugan said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has pledged support, as have the Hillsborough and Pinellas county sheriffs offices.
In the wake of the shootings, police said they have "blanketed the area" with officers and sent alerts to residents in the area via Alert Tampa. Detectives also have gone through the neighborhood, talking with residents, collecting surveillance video, and showing the video of the man recorded walking in the area when the first murder occurred.
Anyone with video or information that may help the investigation can contact Tampa Police at (813) 231-6130.
Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick, whose district includes the part of Seminole Heights where the shootings took place, said he's heard from about four constituents concerned about what's happening.
"They are concerned," he said. "They're afraid to be out after dark because the person is still on the loose. … They just wonder, is this a serial killer? What is going on? They appreciate the increase in law enforcement. Most of them are just frightened and don't know what to do."
Police have previously said the prior two shootings may be related, though they have not said why they think so. There was no apparent relationship between the two people killed.
On Oct. 9, Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, was found at 15th Street and E Frierson Avenue near a bus stop a block from the latest death. He later died from his injuries at a local hospital. He had no criminal record, police said.
Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was found a few days later, Oct. 13, in the 1000 block of E New Orleans Avenue, about 10 blocks from the other two people killed. Police said she was likely shot a day or two earlier. A city worker found her body on a vacant lot.
A celebration of life service for Hoffa is scheduled Saturday at Gonzalez Funeral Home, 7209 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.
Southeast Seminole Heights is roughly bordered by Nebraska Avenue to the west, 15th Street to the east, Hillsborough Avenue to the north and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the south.
Dugan urged residents to keep their porch lights on, stick together and pay attention to their surroundings. That means looking up from smart phones as they're making their way around the neighborhood.
"We're not going to be held hostage by whoever's doing this," he said.
Dugan also had a message for the shooter.
"Enough is enough," he said. "I don't know what your motive is. I don't know what your problem is. There's been enough carnage. You have severely affected some families."
Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] Follow @TMarreroTimes. Staff writers Jonathan Cariel and Richard Danielson contributed to this report.