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Tampa police make arrest in Seminole Heights serial killings

Chief Dugan announces arrest (Photo: Tampa Police Department via Twitter)

TAMPA, Fla. – An arrest has been made in a string of recent homicides in the Tampa area, authorities said.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan announced late Tuesday night that Howell Donaldson III will face charges in connection with four murders in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.

Earlier in the day, police said, Donaldson was seen with a firearm at a McDonald's where he worked in the Ybor City neighborhood.

A co-worker told an officer, and Donaldson was questioned.

Hours later, police said they're charging Donaldson with four counts of murder.

Police didn't reveal exactly how they were able to to make the connection.

Police had been searching for the person responsible for shooting and killing four in the Seminole Heights neighborhood since Oct. 9. Police have said the shootings happened within close proximity to one another.

Dugan credited the arrest to hard work of officers, federal authorities and the community.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement on the arrest:

I applaud the relentless effort of Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and every law enforcement officer who has worked around the clock and over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our state is home to the world’s best law enforcement community, and on behalf of all Floridians, we appreciate their bravery and service.

“Last week, I visited Seminole Heights and saw firsthand the pain that these crimes have caused across the community. As a father and a grandfather, it is unimaginable what the families of these victims are going through. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them, and we will work to ensure that they receive the justice they deserve. In Florida, we have absolutely zero tolerance for this type of evil behavior and anyone responsible will be held to the fullest extent of the law.”