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Based on proximity and circumstances Tampa Police believe that two recent homicides are related. Both cases are somewhat unusual in that there are no clear motives behind the killings.


There are some clear differences in the cases. The first involved a 22-year-old African American man. The second involved a 32-year-old white woman. There are no clear connections between the two victims. However, several factors have led detectives to believe that the cases are related.


Here are brief snapshots of the two homicides:


Benjamin Edward Mitchell, 22, was shot and killed on Monday night, October 9, at approximately 9 p.m. He was waiting at a bus stop near N 15th Street and E Frierson Avenue. It appears that he was alone.


Monica Caridad Hoffa, 32, was shot and killed in the 1000 block of E New Orleans Avenue. Her body was found early Friday, October 13. The shooting may have occurred late Wednesday or on Thursday.


The two locations are within 10 blocks (roughly a half mile) of each other in the southeast Seminole Heights area. In addition to the relatively close time frame and proximity of the shootings, the nature of the two shootings have led detectives to believe that the two cases are related.


In the wake of the murders, Tampa Police have blanketed the area with officers. Detectives sent alerts to residents in the area via Alert Tampa notifying them of the homicides and seeking surveillance video. Detectives also have gone through the neighborhood, talking with residents, collecting surveillance video, and showing residents a video of a man who was walking in the area when the first murder occurred. (That video can be accessed at https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.youtube.com_watch-3Fv-3DbFVgEZ1rZzU&d=DwIBAg&c=XqATCztIzLCYon5OykG81w&r=dLSVOZVrjIryXqpBHSqj7hMnUv4Go_09pOSMsO5VkPs&m=-Ll4R-Uag9njbTkK3sqJ4v3F1RSB83zrEay0wGOcPdg&s=o-VPI8OH4Mkhi-_fJgjQVld0TtFSn4r8Qm9NMdFbHpg&e=)


Tampa Police are still collecting surveillance video. If any residents are businesses have surveillance video that might assist detectives, they should call Tampa Police at 813-231-6130. Police also are urging residents in the Seminole Heights area to be vigilant and follow some basic safety tips.


*             Don't walk alone at night. If you must be out walking after dark, arrange to have a friend join you.

*             Turn on outdoor lights, such as front porch lights. Tampa Police can provide light bulbs if necessary.

*             Report any suspicious activity to Tampa Police at 813-231-6130.




Steve Hegarty

Tampa Police PIO