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Sun April 8, 2012
Suspects Arrested In Tulsa, Okla., Shootings
Two men were arrested in Tulsa, Okla., on Sunday in connection with the deaths of three people in a shooting spree that terrorized the city's black community and left two others critically wounded.
Jacob England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, were arrested following a tip from the public to help police solve the five shootings that happened Friday. Police spokesman Jason Willingham said the two face three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
"There obviously still is a lot of investigation" ahead, Willingham said Sunday, according to The Associated Press. "We don't have a motive at this time. We are still asking questions, and hopefully that will become clear in coming days."
Reporter Brad Gibson told NPR's Newscast Unit that members of the community are suggesting the shootings were hate crimes. The victims were all black. Watts is white. Some records describe England as Native American; others show him as white.
"The shootings happened almost two years to the day that the father of one of the suspects was shot and killed, allegedly by an African-American," Gibson reported.
Community leaders in Tulsa had expressed concern about the motivation for the shootings on the city's predominantly black north side, as well as the possibility that they would provoke a vigilante response. The Rev. Warren Blakney Sr., president of the Tulsa NAACP, told The Associated Press on Sunday that word of the arrests had provided relief.
"The community once again can go about its business without fear of there being a shooter on the streets today, on Easter morning," he said.
The three people killed were identified as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31. Those wounded have not been identified. According to the AP, police don't believe the victims knew one another. The shootings were linked because they happened about the same time within a few miles of each other; all five victims were out walking when they were shot. Four of the victims were found in yards, and one in the street.
Update at 3:39 p.m.: Victim's Wife Reacts
Amanda Bland, a reporter for Tulsa World, tells Laura Sullivan, host of weekends on All Things Considered, that she spoke to Jeanette Allen, wife of William Allen who was killed in last Friday's shootings.
"I think she's relieved on some level, but she's still very distraught," Bland says. "She specifically said to me that this isn't going to bring her husband back and that she's still suffering and her family's still suffering."
Update at 5:47 p.m. Revenge May Be One Motive
At a news conference in Tulsa, Police Chief Chuck Jordan said the "victims appeared to be totally random." But Willingham, the police spokesman, told the AP that investigators are considering many motives, including revenge.
Police say they are looking into one of the suspect's Facebook postings in which he used a racist slur in venting anger over the killing of his father two years ago.