Community support in Seminole Heights grows amid murder investigation

Image 1 of 2

The reward for finding the suspect or suspects responsible for four murders in Seminole Heights increased to $100,000 on Thursday, after a pledge of $9,000 from Tampa restaurant owner Richard Gonzmart.

Tampa residents are coming together finding ways to help people within the community of Seminole Heights and the loved ones of the four shooting victims.

On Thursday evening, a group of neighbors formed a search group off of North Nebraska Avenue to canvass the area around the food pantry where Ronald Felton was shot and killed while volunteering, becoming the fourth shooting victim.

The Salvation Army announced Wednesday that it would offer its shuttles to drive the homeless in Seminole Heights to their downtown Tampa shelter to give them a safe place to sleep after dark.

"Our sense is that there are people who are very anxious in our community, particularly those who might be sleeping on the streets, so we expanded our capacity in our shelter last night," said Captain Andy Miller, Area Commander for the Salvation Army of Tampa.

Miller said the shelter added more beds and a larger staff to accommodate the extra people.

On Wednesday night, two people came to the Salvation Army's Sligh Avenue facility asking to be bused to the downtown shelter.

People can set up a ride by stopping by the administrative office inside the Sligh Avenue facility during business hours.

Ellie Baggett, who hand-makes shirts for her business, decided to use her talents to help her Seminole Heights neighbors.

All of the proceeds from her $20 "We Are Seminole Heights" t-shirts will benefit the families of the four shooting victims.

"It makes me feel so great that I can do something. Everyone can do something, whether you donate your time, your money, or you go out and you're just a little nicer that day," said Baggett.

She said the shirts have gone viral since Tampa Bay Lightning Player JT Brown posted a picture of himself wearing a shirt on Twitter.

Baggett is in the process of printing hundreds of additional shirt within the next couple of weeks.

They can be purchased at:

Baggett is encouraging other Tampa residents to find ways to support Seminole Heights.

"People need to come out, help and do whatever they can, like purchase their Christmas gifts from local businesses, go out to restaurants and have a nice dinner. We can all do something, said Baggett.