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St. John’s grad arrested in connection with four Florida muders

Howell Emanuel Donaldson
TimesLedger Newspapers
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A former St. John’s University men’s basketball player and graduate was arrested Tuesday in connection with four murders this year in one Tampa, Fla., neighborhood, according to the New York Post.

Police apprehended Howell Emanuel “Trai” Donaldson III after receiving a tip from one of his McDonald’s co-workers that he had brought a 9mm handgun into work, the newspaper said.

The employee said Donaldson brought the weapon into work and gave it to his boss to hold onto while he applied for a loan at a nearby check-cashing store. Once Donaldson left the fast food joint, the manager alerted a police officer in the restaurant, the Post reported.

The officer called for backup and once additional officers arrived, they took Donaldson into custody for questioning.

It was not initially clear how Donaldson was linked to the killings.

Donaldson’s arrest comes after four people have been shot and killed in Seminole Heights since Oct. 9.

Police previously said the shootings were linked by proximity and time frame and could be the work of a serial killer.

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan confirmed the arrest, but offered few details in a statement Tuesday.

“Unfortunat­ely, I will not have the answers that you want,” Dugan said, according to the Post. “This is an ongoing situation.”

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also commented on the case, saying he’s happy an arrest was made.

“Fifty-one days ago, I said this was a struggle between good and evil,” he said. “Well, tonight goodness has won.”

While Donaldson spent some time on the St. John’s men’s basketball team during the 2011-12 season, he did not play in any games for the Red Storm.

A LinkedIn Page believed to be Donaldson’s said he graduated in 2015 with a sports management degree.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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