TAMPA — So much for that $110,000 reward. McDonald’s worker Delonda Walker was denied a Tampa Police Department reward for information that led to the capture of Howell Donaldson III, 24, who was arrested on Tuesday as a suspect in the serial killing of four people in Tampa in October and November.
Luckily, a generous restaurant owner was gracious enough to award $9,000 to Walker, who told an officer in the restaurant that Donaldson had given her a bag suspected of being used in the killings, telling her not to look inside.
Richard Gonzmart, who owns a restaurant six blocks away, also offered a reward, but unlike the police, he followed through on his promise.
A video shows the moment when Gonzmart went to McDonald’s to personally deliver the check to Walker.
“She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t expect anything. I don’t think she did it for a reward. That’s what makes it even more special,” Gonzmart said
Crimestoppers, who manages the reward, says they cannot reward Walker because she did not inform the police directly.
After being awarded the $9,000, Walker said, “As you can imagine, I am overwhelmed and surprised by yesterday’s events and I understand why many are interested in speaking with me.
“At this time, I am speaking exclusively with police and am appreciative that they were nearby and quickly acted upon the information I discovered and shared with the police officer.
“I am also appreciative of the outpouring of support from the community.
“My thoughts are focused on the victims and their families and out of respect for them and the active investigation, please direct inquiries to the Tampa Police Department,” she said.
Donaldson has been charged with fatally shooting Benjamin Mitchell, Monica Hoffa, Anthony Naiboa and Ronald Felton.
The suspected killer was born in North Carolina but grew up in Tampa before playing basketball for St John’s University in New York.
The killings are suspected to be the work of a serial killer since they occurred in the same area and used the same methodology. Each victim was shot dead but not robbed as they walked at night in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.
The first attack happened on October 9 after Benjamin Mitchell got off a bus.
Two days later, Monica Hoffa, 32, was also shot. Then, on October 19, Anthony Naiboa, 20, was shot after getting off a bus at a wrong stop.
The fourth victim, Ronald Felton, was gunned down on on November 14, crossing at Nebraska and Wilder by a man dressed in black, who came up behind him and shot him point blank.