A suspected killer has been caught. 

After four murders and a wave of terror in a Tampa community, police announced Tuesday night that they have arrested a 24-year-old man and have charged him with four counts of first degree murder. 

Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was detained at an Ybor City McDonald's after a tip that a patron in the restaurant had a gun.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said late Tuesday that the tip that caused police and ATF to converge on the Ybor City McDonald's earlier in the day came in around 2:30 p.m. A co-worker of Donaldson's approached a Tampa Police officer on foot and said that Donaldson had a firearm at the restaurant.

Donaldson was questioned for several hours after being taken into custody. 

Police said Donaldson was an employee at the McDonald's. 

Police make an arrest

According to the arrest report, Donaldson handed a co-worker a McDonald's bag with a gun inside and said he was going to leave the state. 

That co-worker then found a Tampa police officer. 

Within moments, a .40 caliber handgun had been found. That is the same weapon police said was used in all four of the Seminole Heights murders.    

Detectives searched Donaldson's red mustang in the McDonald's parking lot, pulling out suitcases and even a gray hoodie, similar to the one worn during at least some of the murders. Some of the clothes recovered had blood on them, police said.

At a news conference late Tuesday, Dugan thanked the residents of Seminole Heights.

"I would like to thank the people of Seminole Heights who have just been phenomenal in their support of our police department," Dugan said. "Their patience and support and the way they have rallied behind the cops of Tampa has just been phenomenal. 

"And the entire Bay Area the way they have supported the men and women of the Tampa Police Department in the neighborhood of Seminole Heights has just been awesome to see."  

Weapon recovered, police say

Police said Donaldson bought the handgun used in the murders on Oct. 3. He picked it up on Oct. 7 after the required waiting period.

The first killing happened on Oct. 9.

Police also said on the dates and time of the first three murders, Howell's AT&T was recorded on the tower that serves the location where all of the murders happened. 

Now the question remains - if Howell is the Seminole Heights killer as police say - what were his motives? 

Right now, he appears to have no clear ties to the part of Seminole Heights where the murders happened. 

The killings

Residents and police had been on edge since Oct. 9, when 22-year-old Benjamin Mitchell was shot to death. Two days later, 32-year-old Monica Hoffa, was slain. And on Oct. 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was killed after taking the wrong bus home from his new job. On Nov. 14, 60-year-old Ronald Felton was killed.

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.

Dugan said the department had received more than 5,000 tips. He thanked those who called in the tip that led to Donaldson's arrest. 

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