What We Know About Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, The Florida State Serial Killer Suspect

He's a friendly, college graduate with no criminal history.

By Gina Tron

After 51 days of fear, a suspected serial killer was arrested in Florida on Tuesday night. Four people were shot to death, at random, in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood beginning in early October. Now, police believe they’ve caught the man who pulled the trigger. Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24, was arrested and faces four counts of first-degree murder, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said during a press conference. Here is what we know about Donaldson so far.

1. At first glance, he doesn’t appear mentally unstable.

"He seemed fine to me, which is a strange answer for me to give, because why is he out murdering people?" said Dugan, according to CNN. "He seemed like he knew exactly what he was doing and what was going on. He was very much aware of where he was and what he was doing."

2. He has no prior criminal record.

In fact, he appeared to be somewhat of a model citizen. He was a college graduate with no previous run-ins with the law.

3. He is polite.

One childhood friend always thought of him as a well-mannered individual. "My mom always commended him for his manners and likability, and she still says he was the most likable kid that you could possibly ask for," Tyler Gimbert told the Tampa Bay Times. "(She) started to tear up on the phone when I told her. My dad too. It just doesn’t make sense."

4. He was even friendly to police during his arrest.

"He was friendly and nice to the cops,” Dugan said.

5. He brought a gun into his job at McDonalds.

Donaldson allegedly stuffed his Smith & Wesson .40 in McDonald's food bag and gave it to a coworker to hold on to. The suspected killer allegedly confided in his colleague, telling the coworker he needed to flee the state, Newsweek reports. That coworker gave the bag to a police officer who happened to be in the restaurant. Tampa Bay Police say it’s the same gun used in the four deadly shootings.

6. He admitted it’s his gun.

According to police, Donaldson admitted the Smith & Wesson is his. However, he has remained tight-lipped about the shootings.

7. His cell has linked him to the crime scenes.

According to an affidavit, Donald’s cell phone location has allegedly linked him to at least three of the four murder locations.

[Photo: Tampa Police Department]

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