Rosita Donaldson & Howell Donaldson II: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Facebook Rosita and Howell Donaldson II.

Rosita and Howell Donaldson II, the parents of accused Tampa serial killer Howell E. Donaldson III, run a local hair academy.

Howell Donaldson, 24, stands accused of the random shootings of four people in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of the Florida city. The random shooting spree, which started in early October, had terrified the community. On November 28, police received a tip that Howell, a McDonald’s restaurant employee, was at the restaurant with a gun. They took him into custody for questioning, and then announced he was being charged in the Seminole Heights killings a few hours later.

Tampa’s mayor declared that good had triumphed over evil. All of that has a lot of people wondering about Howell Donaldson’s background and family. Photos on his mother’s Facebook page appeared to show a close-knit local family. The accused killer has long ties to the Tampa area and his life seemed promising, until lately.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Howell Donaldson’s Parents Run a Licensed Hair Academy in Tampa

Howell Donaldson Facebook page

Facebook/Rosita DonaldsonThe Donaldson family.

According to the website for Shear Excellence Hair Academy, Inc., Rosita Donaldson is the “president/CFO/Director/Instructor” and her husband, Howell Donaldson (the father of the suspect) is listed as “vice president, operational manage, student services.”

Shear Excellence Hair Academy Inc. is “licensed by the Florida Department of Education and has been in existence since 2002 and is accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences. Accreditation means the school is recognized by a national accrediting agency and is approved by the United States Department of Education to administer Title IV federal financial aid to those who qualify,” the website reports.

“Shear Excellence Hair Academy is committed to excellence in Cosmetology, Nail Technology, and Restricted Barber. Shear Excellence Hair Academy being and accredited academy – is an academy with goals to meet high standards of performance. We currently meet a successful passing rate for the State Board Examination, and offer placement assistance to graduates. Those who receive education in this industry can become successful, and we have made a commitment and dedication to help our students reach their dreams with a future that starts with a career in the beauty industry,” continues the website.

2. Both the Suspect & His Father Had Received Traffic Tickets on the Mustang that Police Confiscated

howell donaldson parents

The parents of Howell Donaldson.

Police say they received their break in the case when they received a tip that Donaldson, the son, had handed a gun to a co-worker at the McDonald’s. Once they arrived at the scene, they took him into custody for questioning in the shootings and confiscated a red Mustang that was parked at the restaurant. The news media played endless video footage showing that red vehicle at the McDonald’s.

“Hillsborough County court records show that two people have had traffic tickets while driving that vehicle: Howell E. Donaldson, 52, and Howell Emanuel Donaldson III, 24,” reported The Ledger. “Neither man has a criminal arrest record in Florida, state records show.” According to the Ledger, “McDonald’s employee Gail Rogers said Donaldson had worked there for just two months. He showed up in a red Mustang, possibly his father’s car.”

Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said in an earlier news conference that, after receiving a tip, police “confronted the person that had the gun” and were interviewing the person, now named as Donaldson. “It’s very early in the investigation,” Dugan stressed, adding that there had been more than 5,000 tips since the string of slayings started in early October 2017. He declared himself “optimistic” early on that police had found the Tampa killer.

Chief Dugan said before that news broke that he was optimistic because “things are falling in place,” but he said that had happened before and “led to nothing.” It’s “day 51 that we’ve been doing this,” the police chief said. “It’s been a long time for the families and for the cops…It’s going to be a long night.”

3. Rosita Is a Cosmetologist & Howell Sr. Has Managed Restaurants Throughout the Country

An online biography for Rosita Donaldson says she is an “acclaimed cosmetologist with over 21 years of creative, instructional and managerial experience in the hair industry. Having owned and operated her own salons for years, Rosita shared her passion for the industry with up and coming cosmetologist, nail technicians, barber hair designs and entrepreneurs.”

The bio adds that her “passion” extends to “restoring the beauty and confidence of disadvantaged individuals, helping the community by providing an educational service that would equip and improve the quality of life for those that wanted not just a job but a satisfying career. Today, Rosita greatly motivates and encourages everyone who crosses her path to hunger for success and excellence in life. She is well known by her peers to be a coach, motivator, and a mentor to those who work for her or around her. Rosita also encourages all program participants to hunger for success and perfection, and uses her skills to assist students anywhere to become the best that they can be.”

As for her husband, Howell Donaldson II, an online biography says that he has managed restaurants and salons throughout the country. “Howell Donaldson, Vic-President for Serenity Educational Programs, has worked in managerial positions for over twenty six years. Mr. Donaldson has managed large scale national restaurants with over $3 million dollars in revenue,” the bio reads. “He has also managed over 65 employees at a time providing training, evaluation, and payroll management. Mr. Donaldson has also owned and operated restaurants and salons throughout the country. He has created training modules and conducted training classes that would leave an employee motivated, inspired and encouraged to do better in their current position and strive for advancement. He also brings extensive sales experience from working in various financial and automotive multinational corporations.”

The Seminole Heights killer has struck several times since October 9. The victims are Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20; and Ronald Felton, 60. It appears the victims were shot randomly.

Although officials fear the slayings add up to the work of a serial killer, they have stopped short of identifying the suspect as a serial killer.

Police previously released a sketch of the possible Tampa serial killer, as well as video appearing to show him. The slayings, which appear to be random, terrified people throughout Tampa since they broke out. The police sketch looks a lot like Howell Donaldson.

4. Rosita Donaldson’s Facebook Page Shows a Close Family

howell donaldson, rosita donaldson

Rosita and Howell Donaldson.

Rosita Donaldson filled her Facebook page with photos of her son, other children, and husband. They appeared to show a loving family. Her public posts show updated profile and cover photos that featured her children and husband in them, generally leading to accolades in the comment threads about how beautiful the family looked.

rosita donaldson

A photo on Rosita Donaldson’s page.

According to posts on her Facebook page, the couple have three children, two sons and a daughter, in total, including the suspect. The father was previously listed as a notary. The couple married in 1990, online records show.

With one 2015 picture, Rosita wrote, “Brother and sister, nothing but love for them. They are my oldest. I pray protection, favor and Blessing on them.”

5. Howell Donaldson Was Raised in Tampa & Played Basketball

Rosita and Howell Donaldson raised their son in Tampa. In 2011, Donaldson graduated from Alonso High School in Tampa. Donaldson played as a guard for the school’s varsity basketball team, according to Max Preps. Donaldson has a profile at St. John’s basketball webpage, but that bio does not say if Donaldson ever played for the team. Donaldson had a separate profile while at St. John’s that explains that he uses the nickname Trai because he is third generation. He adds that he was raised in Tampa. Donaldson concludes by saying, “I love basketball and plan on walking on for St. John’s basketball team.”

Howell Donaldson Facebook page

Facebook/Trai Donaldson

On social media, Donaldson said he received a degree in computer science with a minor in sports management. Donaldson worked for the New York Mets at CitiField in New York City. Donaldson gives his job title as “Guest Experience Host.” His roles included scanning tickets for all members entering the field and private VIP clubs. During his time at St. John’s, Donaldson worked as a student marketing assistant for the school, a conference services facilities assistant and a campus recreation student worker. In February 2015, Donaldson worked at an event for the NBA. While between February 2013 and May 2015 Donaldson worked at an Adidas store in New York City, his LinkedIn page shows.

His most recent post on Facebook, from 2014, said, “оne оf my friеnԁs ѕhoԝеd mе thіѕ sіte that іs mеssing uр anԁ giving аԝaу free ipаԁs аnd it wоrkeԁ. і gоt one deliverеԁ to mу hоuѕe yesterdау morning. yоu guуѕ nееԁ tо hurrу аnԁ ѕіgn up tо gеt оne toо.” The post is repeated over and over again on his page as he tagged different friends.




The father does have an arrest history in FL. He was arrested in Hillsborough county on 09-07-1997 for BATTERY (DOMESTIC VIOLENCE) and FALSE IMPRISONMENT. He was released on bond on 09-08-1997. The son has also been arrested before in NY with a sealed case file. He went to college in NY so nobody is sure if the case is sealed due to a minor case at the time or for other reasons. Only time will tell but he deserves the death penalty for the injustices he has caused. He should not be able to live the rest of his life getting to see his family for holidays (even if just visitations at a prison). He took that opportunity from the 4 victims and their families.


I agree with Lynn. Who cares what his mommy and daddy does for a living and about the description of their business? And why are you people blasting their faces online like this?


This is a hard situation for us ALL as this case unfold of The Seminole Heights Killer!!! (HOWELL EMANUEL DONALDSON)My Heart Is Heavy. Before someone Takes This the wrong way ..I am a Woman Of God and God Said Love thy Enemies. !!!!! He’s just a young child That Maybe Lost his way.I’m glad he have been captured !!!! My HEART goes out to HIS Family. I heard he comes from a Good and Godly Family. We must all Pray as One Family 4 plus the 1= 5 Families. His Family Lost a Love one as well. May be some you won’t like my post..But PEOPLE of GOD will understand and Know what I am saying about this Young man…And To any of His Family That reading This I Forgive Your son, Brother, Cousin, Grandson, Nephew., Friend, We dont know what triggered his behavior as I will Never Forget the lives he took and the families he destroyed. He also took his own life away as well. God does things we may NEVER Understand in our lifetime!.I am Still Grieving the death of my brother Ronnie Felton . I ask of anyone who reads this to the END JUST Say a pray for all 5 Families Because We all lost Love ones. May God Be a Blessing to to us all Today . Sheryl Hicks Kelly


I’m sorry !
But this young boy as you claim, was taught by his mother and his father !
You can’t turn around and accept the hatred that was raised into him. he didn’t think he was going to get caught !
But he did ! and ;
Now you claim we should have sympathy for him and his family because he is a young boy ?
I’m sorry , as a Christian that has the sense to know better .
A child would have known before the first killing what he did was wrong !
But , because you may be from the left and have no sense of dignity for the ones that have died by the hands of this evil bastard and now you request that the world show sympathy , for him and his family ? They raise him ! They taught him how to hate !!!!
He just figured he had black privilege and ; Nobody was going to be wise , to him taking human lives. because he was going to help Obama’s Muslim Conquest ..
I’m sorry, sympathy for this kind of behavior is Ludacris . And forgiveness is out of the question and ((( I am sorry ))) is not going to cut it anymore.
I hope he gets the death penalty !!!


I’m sorry for your loss and I pray for all the families I know all to well what you are going through blessing to you


Jessica McBride, this isn’t “reporting” – it’s bios on the parents. And why would you even include the “free ipads” posting on Facebook from 2014??! Everyone KNOWS they are yesterday’s spammy posts! Have you been living under a rock? Is Heavy hiring new reporters now? Cause I’m pretty sure I could do a better job blindfolded!


That FB post from 2014 was likely a spam due to a phished account. I doubt he was really posting that over and over and tagging friends.


Making gang signs !
This black bastard will probably get a slap on the wrist. Because he’s going to claim that the white people were picking on him and it wasn’t his fault.
This motherfvcker didn’t think he was going to get caught .
I mean ,after all !
The police have been told to stand down !
Told not to enforce the law !
Told not to Aid a white American in danger of assault and battery .
And ; they have been told by the Democratic Party , to do these things to destroy America and the Constitution .
To put fear in the hearts of Americans , they have been told to do this by the Democratic party to Aid in there corruption.


Well !
let me see .
Since the election of Donald Trump president.
I have seen on the news vicious attacks by black and brown people against old white folks …
Now !!
I see on TV Maxine Waters, trying to incite a riot …
I see Al Green coming forward claiming to impeach Donald Trump for some imaginary violation of the law ?
I see brown people claiming the Constitution extends beyond the u.s. borders ?
I see brown people demanding special rights that are here illegally !
you’re right !
I shouldn’t say anything about race or speak the truth .

Cathy Rooks

I think Spock used that “gang sign” on the earlier Star Trek…
You need to stop that foaming at the mouth – he hasn’t been proven guilty yet.
There is some evidence that he is being framed by the police – it’s not the first time
such a thing has happened. Look into it sometime:

“Jimmie Gardner Spent 25 Years Behind Bars After State’s Expert Lied On The Stand”
(YouTube – interview with Roland S. Martin)
Former minor league baseball player Jimmie Gardner spent 25 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit.
Gardner was accused of sexual assault in 1987. 25 years later, his case was overturned after investigators found out the state’s expert lied on the stand.


His parents knew it was him for sure. Look at his criminal family. That police sketch looks pretty accurate. Think about it. Everyone here was looking at the videos and sketches. I guarantee that his evil parents knew that was their son in the video by the video,sketch, his clothing, his mannerisms(walk, phone spin) and probably knew he just bought that gun too. How would they not realize that he fit the description to a t?????? Huh???? They knew for sure. What a bunch of losers. They should leave our country. His whole family should have to pay. They are so but ugly and gross. F them. F the Donaldson’s. They are scum


Point me to exactly where his family is criminal. The only “criminal” act listed here is that his dad got a speeding ticket. I know PLENTY of normal, fine people who have speeding tickets. Give me a break. Why on earth should his family have to pay for something he did (if/when it is proven he is guilty). Good lord, get yourself together.


Please everyone what this news article did is one slander a company name which is his families to deformation of character towards his family three disclose personal information which has nothing to do with his case by disclosing family business and names and four please remember he is still innocent until proven guilty I believe Tampa Police Department did not have a lead so they had to put it on someone and this young man just so happen to fit the description just because he had a 40 caliber Smith & Wesson I have a 40 caliber Smith & Wesson I shell casings are the same it’s the same gun doesn’t matter a gun is a gun or bullets are built to make them fit that particular gun so before judging him or his family saying that their guilty remember for every one finger you point out there is 4 pointing back so I would leave his family out of the article because now the victims families are going to try to sue his family for unrelated issues you just landed a company’s name and deformation of character for not only a business but two individuals who have nothing to do with a case again I repeat he is innocent in the state of Florida until proven guilty the only thing he’s guilty of is carrying a fireArm Who knows he may have found it in an alley somewhere get your facts right before accusing people

Cathy Rooks

Although the police are claiming the casings “match” the gun, the forensics of this
is NOT an exact science. I have long believed that this situation is a SETUP.
Many inconsistencies in the police reports. Glad to see someone else giving
some THOUGHT to this very unusual situation. He certainly has been CONVICTED
before trial by the many inflammatory official statements to the press…this is reprehensible.
He will not be able to get a fair trial in this atmosphere.


The dad has an arrest record for battery and false imprisonment. Maybe everything you read on the internet isn’t true. Just saying. Do your research before blindly believing an article by shoddy reporting.


still stupid what does his dad have to do with what his son did the dad didnt kill anybody i just hate racist inconsiderate dumb ass white people comments and racist views like this is why it will always be racism in america because white crackers are close minded egotistical morons

Sherry W

That’s just wrong! You know nothing about his parents. I worked with Howell previously and he’s just a great, great guy-bright, upbeat, positive and exciting incredibly nice. Rosita is a lovely person as well. Put yourself in their shoes. It has to be extraordinarily difficult. Many prayers for both of them and the rest of the family!


So the point of doing an entire story on his parents is…..seems like his parents are upstanding citizens, with strong family values. They have been married over 27 years so not sure I get the point of these 5 facts….

Nicole Parsons

This story seems to be about his parents not him biased ass media. I have no idea what Dylan Roofs parents did for a living. This is terrible reporting.


Posting information from his mother’s facebook page and about the mother and father’s unrelated business does what? Nothing. It is the shooter’s fault- not his family’s fault. This is some tacky “reporting”.


Doesn’t look like him in the video by the way the guy walks. Maybe it is him in the video, but if so he walks like a white dude…


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