TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) –There’s been a lot of questions about the reward to find the accused Seminole Heights killer, which grew to $110,000 earlier this month. Today, we learned Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay will pay out its portion.
At a press conference Friday, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan cleared up the confusion, saying Delonda Walker, the McDonald’s manager who tipped police off that she found Donaldson’s loaded gun, will receive “every penny” of the reward.
“Let me be clear, she will receive all $110,000,” said Dugan. “But you also have to understand it came from multiple different people, different places, and it takes time to take the checks to her.”
Dugan appeared alongside Mayor Buckhorn who thanked the organizations who offered up rewards and asked the public to respect Walker’s privacy at this time.
Buckhorn read the following statement on Walker’s behalf:
I went to work on Tuesday intending to serve customers and do my job. The day turned out very differently. When confronted with this situation, I wanted to do the right thing and I reached out to a nearby police officer. Receiving a reward never entered my mind. Looking back, I am grateful to know I was helpful in assisting law enforcement. I hope you can understand that out of respect for the continuing investigations as well as the victims and their families, I will not be answering questions. But please know I appreciate all the well wishes and the kind words of our community.”
“Today, we are a safer community because Ms. Walker did the right thing. She doesn’t want any attention. If there was no reward, she would have made the same decision. She is what’s right about this city,” said Mayor Buckhorn.
For the last 48 hours, it was unclear if Walker would get her cash reward or not.
“One of the protocols is that someone has to call in to Crime Stoppers. The tip has to go through them in order to receive the money for the Crime Stoppers,” said former Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor.
But in a moment of panic, Delonda Walker didn’t call a tip line. She let a police officer know what she saw.
“To use your head like she did. To make sure her crew is safe. It takes a special person to do that. They got the right woman in charge. I am glad she was there,” said Mateen Walker, Delonda’s husband. “She called me and she was kind of distraught a little bit, everything that was going on at that store. She was shook. I told her ‘hey baby you are doing the right thing.”
The entire community can agree, she did the right thing, including Mayor Bob Buckhorn and former police chief Jane Castor.
“If I knew the woman from McDonalds I would tell her the same thing. Thank you. But for you, we may have never closed this case,” said Buckhorn.
“She did the right thing and she deserves every single penny of that reward money,” said Castor.
Mateen Walker calls his wife selfless and humble and says she doesn’t want any recognition.
“It’s not about the money. She deserves it though.”
By the end of this week, that McDonald’s employee should receive around $20,000 in reward money. The rest of the reward money requires a conviction so it could be a while before she sees that.
Organizations that offered rewards in the investigation include:
- The David. Straz Jr. Foundation offering up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect(s)
- Rise Tampa is offering up to $15,000 for the arrest of a suspect(s)
- FDLE is offering up to $10,000 for information leading an arrest of a suspect(s)
- ATF is offering up to $20,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect(s)
- FBI is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect(s)
During the course of the investigation, Crime Stoppers processed 1,342 tips for the Tampa Police Department.