Two White Men Arrested over Tulsa Serial Shootings that Left Three Black Men Dead/Fear Stalks Tulsa Neighborhood after Shootings
Police say 32-year-old and 19-year-old are expected to be charged with killing three and wounding two in Oklahoma city
Associated Press, 8 April 2012
Two white men were arrested on Sunday over shootings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that left three black men dead and two more critically wounded.
Police said the arrested men were expected to face three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill. He said police acted on an anonymous tipoff.
The men were identified as 19-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts. A police spokesman, Jason Willingham, said authorities had begun seeking the men on Saturday evening.
Police had said previously that they were searching for a white man driving a white pickup, which was spotted close to where three of the shootings occurred early on Friday.
At least two dozen officers were called to investigate the case, along with the FBI and US marshals, in a taskforce named Operation Random Shooter. The arrests came hours after the taskforce was launched.
The shootings placed Tulsa’s black community on edge over the weekend. Authorities said they thought the shootings were linked because they happened at around the same time within a three-mile span and all five victims were out walking when they were attacked.
Willingham said authorities still faced many unanswered questions after the arrests. “We are going to turn over every rock,” he said.
Fear stalks Tulsa neighborhood after shootings
Five shot and three killed on city’s predominantly black north side
Associated Press, April 7, 2012
Okla. — Residents of Tulsa’s predominantly black north side said Saturday they’re afraid a shooter is still roaming their neighborhoods looking for victims after five people were shot — and three killed — a day earlier.
“We’re all nervous,” said Renaldo Works, 52, who was getting his hair cut at the crowded Charlie’s Angels Forever Hair Style Shop on Saturday morning. “I’ve got a 15-year-old, and I’m not going to let him out late. People are scared. We need facts.”
Police are still waiting for the results of forensic tests, but investigators think the shootings are linked because they happened about the same time within a three-mile span, and all five victims were out walking when they were shot. All the victims are black, and community leaders met Friday evening in an effort to calm unrest.
“We have to handle this because there are a number of African-American males who are not going to allow this to happen in their neighborhood,” said the Rev. Warren Blakney Sr., president of the Tulsa NAACP. “We’re trying to quell the feeling of ‘let’s get someone’ and we will make as certain as we can that this isn’t pushed under the rug.”
Officer Jason Willingham said Saturday that police are searching for a white man driving a white pickup, which was spotted in the area of three of the shootings. At least two dozen officers are investigating the case, along with the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. Willingham said.
“We don’t have one definitive way where this investigation is headed,” Willingham said. “Right now, that’s the only thing we have to go on.”
Barber Charles Jones, 40, said the north side has its share of crime trouble, but residents have never faced a series of random killings like these.
“It’s pretty shocking,” Jones said. “We’ve never had any serial-type stuff.”
At a neighborhood park a couple blocks from two of the shootings, parents kept close watch over their kids during an Easter egg hunt.
“Everybody has to just stick together,” said parent Wayne Bell, 47. “It’s more of a keep close to the nest thing right now.”
Blakney said “avid distrust” between the African-American community and the police department had raised concerns the shootings wouldn’t be fully investigated, and he contacted police to emphasize the need for them to work together to avoid vigilantism.