Oklahoma Facebook Shooting Hate Crime Investigation

Tulsa police say their investigation of the deadly shooting spree in Oklahoma will include the racially charged Facebook postings of a man arrested this morning in connection to the attacks, although they say it’s premature to describe the incident as a hate crime.

Two white men were arrested in connection with the random attacks that left three black pedestrians dead and two in critical condition, police said.

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, were arrested at a house north of Tulsa around 2 a.m. this morning and are expected to be charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill, according to officials.

“I’m just really amazed at how quickly we were able to apprehend these two subjects,” Task force commander Maj. Walter Evans said at a news conference today. “But there are still a whole lot of unanswered questions that we have to have answered.”

The shootings occurred nearly two years to the day after a black man shot England’s father to death, according to his Facebook posting.

But the FBI’s James Finch, who was part of the task force handling the case, today called it “very premature to talk about hate crimes. We have yet to analyze all the information to understand the motivations of the subjects in this case.”

Although police were reluctant to call the killings a hate crime, others were less so.

“Somebody that committed these crimes were very upset with black people,” Tulsa Councilman Jack Henderson said today. “That person happened to be a white person. The people they happened to kill and shoot were black people. That fits the bill for me. That’s a personal feeling.”

The five men were shot early Friday morning in four separate incidents during a span of less than two hours on the same side of town and not far from one another, police said.

Police identified the dead men as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31. There was no connection between the suspects and victims, police said at a news conference today.

Two males were critically wounded in the shooting spree. All of the victims were targeted while they were out walking, and apparently did not know each other.




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