Friday shootings in Tulsa may be hate crimes

Updated

Three people were killed and two others critically wounded by shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma early on Good Friday. The shootings appear to be random, but all of the victims – Dannaer Fields, 49; Bobby Clark, 54; and William Allen, 31 – are all black, and there is suspicion that the shooter, described as white, may have targeted them for that reason:

When asked if people in the community felt that the shooter or shooters were deliberately targeting black people, he replied “yes, absolutely … word on the street is that this person would drive up to people walking, ask for directions, and when they would turn away, walk away, begin firing. That’s truly a concern, and anybody would be (ill) at ease if you knew this was going on.”

Thus the manhunt has begun – a manhunt literally called Operation Random Shooter, per this Tulsa World report:

[Tulsa Police Chief Chuck] Jordan stopped short of calling the shootings hate crimes. He said while it’s a logical theory that the shootings could have been racially motivated, there was no evidence Saturday afternoon to indicate that’s the case.

Jordan said current leads indicate the suspect is a white man in an older white pickup.

Tonight’s NBC Nightly News report has more details, and the Tulsa World has confirmed that the FBI is now involved in the investigation, and that authorities are requesting citizens with information or possible information on the shooter to contact Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS (2677).

Henderson offered advices to his constituents:

“Don’t go out late at night walking by yourself, until these people are apprehended. We need to be careful, and we don’t want anybody to go out and do any vigilante-type stuff either. Let the police do their jobs.”

We’ll update this post as we get more details. Stay safe, Tulsa.

Update: Sunday, April 8, 6:11am. Two arrests have been made in connection with the shootings we reported on last night. NBC News reports:

Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, will be charged with three counts of murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill, the Tulsa Police Department said. Police identified both suspects as white males.

They were arrested at 1:47 a.m. local time, authorities said.

Friday shootings in Tulsa may be hate crimes

Updated