A Florida man allegedly shot two random strangers and authorities believe he could have become the state’s next serial killer, an official said.
Elijah Iziah Dera’us McCray, 20, was arrested in connection to a murder and attempted murder in his neighborhood that occurred less than one week apart.
On Oct. 13, 55-year-old Eddie Hoskins Jr. was walking his chihuahua in Seminole when McCray allegedly shot the Army veteran, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said.
“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,” court documents obtained by WFLA-TV state.
Six days earlier, on Oct. 7, police claim McCray fired multiple shots at a random 40-year-old man who was sitting and smoking by the pool of an apartment where Hoskins also lived. The man, who has not been publicly identified, survived the attack.
Deputies said “several similarities were observed between both scenes, such as shell casing evidence, location and caliber of firearm used,” WFLA reported, citing the affidavit.
Investigators also matched a bullet fragment recovered from Hoskins’ body to a 9mm handgun they allegedly found under McCray’s pillow while conducting a search of his home, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
In an arrest affidavit, law enforcement officials claimed McCray “was observed on video surveillance at Shoot Straight [shooting range] with a semi-automatic pistol” at 1:38 p.m. Oct. 10 — three days before Hoskins’ death.
“We stopped I really think what could have been Seminole Heights 2.0 from what happened in Tampa,” Sheriff Gualtieri said after McCray’s arrest, referring to a suspected serial killer who fatally shot four victims to death in the fall of 2017.
McCray was being held in the Pinellas County Jail without bond on one count each of murder, attempted murder and resisting an officer without violence as well as two counts of being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.