Sheriff believes deputies stopped serial killer in Seminole

Pinellas County

SEMINOLE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Pinellas County sheriff believes deputies stopped a serial killer – a man that the sheriff’s office says randomly shot and killed one person and injured another.

The suspect, 20-year-old Elijah McCray, woke up behind bars on Friday and is set to appear in court for the first time. He’s accused in both shootings in a Seminole neighborhood.

Sheriff Bob Gualtieri compares this situation to the Seminole Heights serial killer in Tampa who put the entire Tampa Bay area on edge four years ago.

“This guy would probably still be out there with the gun under his pillow getting ready to decide who his next victim is going to be, in the sense that he was going to go out and randomly kill somebody,” Sheriff Gualtieri said.

Deputies say McCray shot and killed 55-year-old Eddie Hoskins as he walked along the street this past Wednesday around 8 p.m.

Six days before that fatal shooting, deputies say he shot a 40-year-old man multiple times who was sitting poolside at the Bayou Court Apartments. Deputies say he is expected to survive.

8 On Your Side spoke with the survivor of that shooting, and his girlfriend, who wished to stay anonymous. They say the situation was terrifying. The victim’s girlfriend explained the chaos that ensued after the shooting.

“He [her boyfriend] went in the bedroom and got a tourniquet and there was blood all over the place,” she said.

Meanwhile, Hoskins was shot and killed while walking his dog. The big question is, why did these random shootings happen?

“McCray made statements to detectives that he was a contract assassin who worked for the government,” Sheriff Gualtieri said.

A long-time friend of the late Hoskins tells us he was an Army veteran who occasionally worked on his fishing boat.

“I’m just shocked. I heard this happened and – I don’t know. Eddie’s just a really good guy man, he’s a hard worker… he’s somebody that I always trusted, he was just a good guy,” said Jim Bonnell.

Bonnell says between this random shooter in Seminole and the serial killer years ago in Seminole Heights, the situations are sad and senseless.

“Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of people like that who have no regard for human life. I hope they have him and put him away for a long time,” Bonnell said.

McCray faces several charges including first-degree murder and two counts of delinquent in possession of a firearm.

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