A student, a son and a volunteer: These are the victims in the Tampa killings
(CNN) — A food pantry volunteer, a waitress, a worker with autism, and an aspiring musician were killed over the span of a month in Tampa while they were walking alone at night.
Residents and police in the historic Seminole Heights neighborhood fear that a serial killer may be responsible for the unsolved killings.
A mural with the names and faces of the victims was recently unveiled as some of their relatives grieve in private and others ask the community for help catching the killer.
Here’s what we know so far about the victims:
Benjamin Mitchell was a performer and an aspiring musician.
The 22-year-old was a full-time student at Hillsborough Community College, according to his obituary.
He was shot and killed at a bus stop in the Seminole Heights neighborhood October 9.
Monica Hoffa, 32, had a great love for the deaf community, according to her obituary.
She grew up in Tampa and learned English, Spanish and sign language to communicate with her mom.
“She was a godsend for her mother, her mother being deaf, she would interpret for her mom,” her father, Kenny Hoffa told CNN affiliate WFTS.
Most recently, she was working as a waitress. Hoffa loved poetry and was known for her drawings.
“She loved life and had a beautiful smile that would light up the room,” her family wrote in her obituary.
For her, it was very important to forgive and forget.
“She would not remember any wrongdoings and didn’t hold a grudge,” her obituary said.
Hoffa was shot and killed October 11. A city employee found her body two days afterward in a vacant parking lot half a mile from where Mitchell died.
Anthony Naiboa, an autistic 20-year-old, had just started a temporary job, packing relief supplies for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, when he was killed.
“He was going to cash his check and take us all out to dinner to celebrate his job,” his younger brother, Taino Naiboa, told CNN affiliate Bay News 9.
Naiboa, the eldest of five siblings, recently graduated from high school. One of his goals was to someday get his driver’s license, CNN affiliate WFLA reported.
He became the third victim on October 19 after he accidentally got on the wrong bus and ended up in the Seminole Heights neighborhood by mistake, police said.
His mother, Maria Rodriguez, told CNN affiliate WFTS that Naiboa had called home saying he was going to be late. His family didn’t have a chance to see him alive once again.
“Do you know what that feels like?” Rodriguez said. “Waiting and waiting for your child to come home.”
Ronald Felton, 60, worked in construction and had three grown children, his younger brother, James, told WFLA.
For the past 10 years, he regularly helped feed the homeless at a food pantry in Seminole Heights. On Tuesday, he was shot and killed across the street from the pantry.
“Ronnie was our Superman. He was the mother hen that watched over baby chicks,” said Johnny Daniels, a friend. “He was our most trusted volunteer.”
Another food pantry worker told Daniels that on the day before his shooting, Felton came to the food pantry and hugged every person there. He hadn’t done that before, Daniels said.
“I have a feeling that he knew, and he kept that person away from them, and that was the way the Lord wanted to save those other folks by utilizing Ronnie as their savior,” Daniels said. “He saved them with his life.”
Reginald Felton, his twin brother, said he urged Ronald not to go into the neighborhood at that time of day because of the other killings.
“I talked to him, but he got his own way, he still (goes) out at that time of the morning,” he said.
Their sister said the whole family is shattered by the slaying.
“I’ve been watching the serial killer news and watching, listening, praying — and for that to happen to my brother, to be shot four times at close range, that’s hard,” Linda Cunningham said.