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SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – The murder suspect the Pinellas County sheriff said could have become Tampa Bay’s next serial killer visited a gun range days before the deadly shooting in his neighborhood, according to court documents obtained by 8 On Your Side.
An affidavit said deputies linked 20-year-old Elijah McCray to a murder and attempted murder less than a week apart because “several similarities were observed between both scenes, such as shell casing evidence, location and caliber of firearm used.”
In addition to murder and attempted murder, McCray is charged with two counts of being a delinquent in possession of a firearm.
One of McCray’s arrest affidavits said on Sept. 12, 2018, the 6th Judicial Circuit court in Florida found that he committed an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was 17 years old at the time.
That same affidavit stated on Oct. 10 at 1: 38 p.m., McCray “was observed on video surveillance at Shoot Straight with a semi-automatic pistol.”
Three days earlier, deputies said McCray randomly opened fire on a 40-year-old man sitting outside of his apartment. He’s charged with attempted murder from that shooting. Two bullets struck the victim.
“We stopped I really think what could have been Seminole Heights 2.0 from what happened in Tampa,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Thursday at a news conference announcing McCray’s arrest.
The thought of what could have been is frightening for Lisa Delorey, who said she heard six shots from her home last Wednesday night.
There’s now a white cross with an American flag in memory of 55-year-old Army veteran Eddie Hoskins Jr. in the Seminole neighborhood on 84th Lane N. near 75th Ave. N.
Last Wednesday night, deputies said McCray shot and killed Hoskins while he was walking his dog, something neighbors like Delorey say they saw him do all the time.
“I was devastated because you feel like you don’t know him personally, but because you see him walking on the street you have a small bit of connection,” Delorey said. “So that makes me upset I know him.”
Sheriff Gualtieri credits witnesses and surveillance videos from the neighborhood with helping to arrest McCray the day after the deadly shooting.
“The defendant’s vehicle was observed leaving the location of the shooting by both video cameras and witnesses as he fled back to his residence,” the murder arrest affidavit for McCray said.
Delorey said she’s relieved the accused killer is already in the Pinellas County Jail.
“Just like Sheriff Gualtieri said, it’s just old fashion police work and people coming together helped solve it,” she said.
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