TAMPA, Fla. - Howell "Trai" Donaldson III's mother and father say they are heartbroken. In statements given exclusively to FOX 13 News, Rosita Donaldson and Howell Donaldson, Jr. were despondent over the losses being felt across their own family -- as well as the families of those their son is accused of killing.
The Donaldsons went into seclusion after their son was arrested and charged in a 51-day killing spree that terrorized the community of southeast Seminole Heights.
Speaking to FOX 13’s Gloria Gomez, the Donaldsons expressed their condolences to the victims’ families.
"We are very much heartbroken," Rosita Donaldson said. "Our condolences, our heart goes out to the families as well. Our hearts go out to the families and the loss that they have."
Their 24-year-old son has been living with them in their Town ‘N Country home -- up until his arrest Tuesday.
The Donaldsons are known to many in the community. The couple owns the Shear Excellence Hair Academy in Tampa.
But the only thing they can focus on now is their son.
"We love our son. We want to let him know we love him," Rosita offered.
The Donaldsons met Thursday night with prominent Tampa attorney Ralph Fernandez.
"What they stressed is that they will support their son and love their son and they’re going to stick by their son, as you can expect, in the most difficult of all times anyone can envision," Fernandez told FOX 13 News.
When asked if he would represent the Donaldsons’ son as well, Fernandez said those plans are still being made.
"We are putting together a team of attorneys and I think [we will know] by Monday who that will be and which role each will play," he added.
Fernandez says the Donaldsons have not seen their son since his arrest, but they will meet with him soon.