Facebook postings investigated in Tulsa shootingsTULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two men were arrested Sunday in a deadly string of shootings that spread fear in Tulsa's black community, and police said they were looking at a possible Facebook posting by one of the suspects that suggested he was angry over the killing of his father by a black man.
By: JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Two men were arrested Sunday in a deadly string of shootings that spread fear in Tulsa's black community, and police said they were looking at a possible Facebook posting by one of the suspects that suggested he was angry over the killing of his father by a black man.
Acting on an anonymous tip, police took the suspects into a custody at a home just outside town around 2 a.m. Authorities said they planned to charge them with murder and other offenses in a series of shootings early Friday that left three people dead and two critically wounded, all of them black.
Police identified both suspects as white but said investigators have yet to establish whether the attacks on the city's predominantly black north side were racially motivated, as many in the community feared.
However, police spokesman Jason Willingham said investigators are looking at a Facebook page in which it appears one of the men, 19-year-old Jake England, expressed anger over his father being shot and killed by a black man. Willingham said police were aware of the page but he could not say for certain it was England's.
A Thursday update on the Facebook page noted it has been two years since England's father died and "it's hard not to go off" between that anniversary and the death of his fiancée earlier this year.
A friend of the family, Susan Sevenstar, told the Associated Press that England's fiancée had killed herself in January. The Facebook page had been taken down Sunday afternoon.
The other man arrested was identified as Alvin Watts, 32. It was not immediately clear whether the men had attorneys.
The Rev. Warren Blakney Sr., president of the Tulsa NAACP, said the arrests came as a big relief.
"The community once again can go about its business without fear of there being a shooter on the streets on today, on Easter morning," he said.
Police said they linked the shootings because they happened about the same time within a few miles of each other, and all five victims were out walking. Four were found in yards, and one was in the street.
Police said they don't believe the victims knew one another. The dead were identified as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.
"We don't have a motive at this time. We are still asking questions and hopefully that will become clear in coming days," Willingham said.
Milan Cherry, Fields' niece, said her aunt didn't have a car and she believed she was walking home when she was shot. She described Fields as uplifting and a source of strength for their family in hard times.
The killer "was just going around, murdering people for no reason," she said. "Now we have to bury our aunt because of this fool."
The killings set off a major manhunt that involved Tulsa police, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies.
Police went to England's home after receiving a tip and then followed the men three or four blocks to another home, where they were arrested, Willingham said. He said he did not know if they were armed.
"We've been on them since early in the evening" Saturday, the police spokesman said. "We had been doing surveillance and using a helicopter."