PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The suspect of two random shootings in Seminole is being held on no bond after his first appearance.
Elijah McCray, 20, is facing numerous charges including first degree murder and attempted first degree murder.
The first degree murder charge was just added on Friday after detectives were able to confirm that, after firearm ballistics analysis, the firearm that was located in McCray’s bed matched a projectile fragment that was removed from the deceased victim.
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.
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 said 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,” 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,” Jim Bonnell said. “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.”
8 On Your Side spoke with neighbors who live in the area. One of them did not to go on camera but said he was stunned by what happened.
“It was shocking that it was him that did it,” a neighbor said. “I was hoping it wasn’t a neighbor that did it. I was shocked to see someone get murdered in the neighborhood period.”
McCray was taken into custody on Thursday. He also faces two counts of delinquent in possession of a firearm and resisting an officer without violence