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Suspected Black Serial Killer Captured After Writing Cryptic Message on 3rd Victim in Blood: Report

Nathaniel Petgrave (WFOR-TV screenshot)
Nathaniel Petgrave (WFOR-TV screenshot)

A man who authorities say is a suspected serial killer in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area says that he wanted to kill at least five people and left behind a cryptic message in blood before being captured, according to police.


Nathaniel Petgrave is accused of killing at least three homeless men—Larry Scott, 65; John Jackson, 50; and Derick Tucker, 21—which would qualify him as a serial killer, if convicted. A fourth person was shot but did not die.

Crime Online reports that police noticed that the third man shot, Tucker, had the words “4 Stop Wait Time” written in blood, which authorities say alluded to a fourth victim, but police say that although that person, a fourth man, was shot in the neck, he remains in critical condition at an area hospital.


Police say that they caught Petgrave after a woman called in a tip, saying that she recognized Petgrave from surveillance footage. Rose Jackson told authorities she recognized Petgrave from a feeding program where she worked.

Police say that Petgrave himself was homeless, living in a shack he made in the Plantation area outside Fort Lauderdale.

About a month ago, police confiscated a gun from Petgrave but had to return the weapon to him because he had a legal license to carry a firearm.

Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Steve Novak said that Petgrave admitted to the killings and that police believe the homeless victims were simply easy targets.


The Miami New Times reports that Petgrave offered a motive, which was to kill at least five people.

Petgrave is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. He has pleaded not guilty.


Read more at Crime Online and the Miami New Times.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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To all of you who swear that black folks can’t be serial killers because “that’s a white thing”

Stop that.