Delonda Walker says she would've made the same decision without an award

By Elaine Aradillas
December 04, 2017 03:40 PM

A Tampa McDonald’s employee received $110,000 after her tip led to the arrest of an alleged serial killer who terrorized the community for 51 days, officials said during a press conference Friday.

Delonda Walker was at work when her co-worker, Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, asked her to hold his bag while he ran an errand, officials said.

“[Walker] opened the bag when Donaldson left and found the gun inside,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “[She] gave it to a nearby police officer in the McDonald’s.”

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For 51 days, Seminole Heights was terrorized by the killings of four people who had no apparent link to each other. They were fatally shot within a half-mile of each other. Police believe the killings are related, but information about the gun had never been released to the public, officials said.

“The gun is what we needed,” Dugan said. “The gun was used in all four murders.”

Donaldson faces four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20; and Ronald Felton, 60.

For now, police still don’t have a motive for the shootings.

“We’re not sure why he was in this neighborhood. We’re not sure what his ties are or what motivated him,” Dugan said at an earlier press conference.

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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was grateful for Walker’s actions. He read a statement composed by Walker.

“I went to work Tuesday intending to serve customers and do my job. The day turned out very differently,” Walker statement said. “When confronted with this situation, I wanted to do the right thing and reached out to a nearby police officer.”

She did not know her actions would lead to the arrest of Donaldson.

“Receiving an award never entered my mind,” she said.

Law enforcement received more than 5,000 tips about the serial killer in the days leading up to the arrest.

“It was a dark chapter in Tampa’s histoy but that darkness has been removed,” Buckhorn said.