Last Friday, two white Tulsa, Oklahoma residents went on a murderous rampage in a black section of the city, shooting five people, killing three of them.
The men – Alvin Watts, 33, and Jake England, 19 – were arrested early Sunday morning and are currently being held on $9 million bail each.
Their killing spree sent shock waves across the city’s Black population, and although Facebook messages posted just prior to the shootings suggest that their actions were racially motivated, Police and FBI officials say it is too early to call this incident a hate crime.
“The shooting caused a sense of unease in the mostly black community of North Tulsa, with people afraid to walk the streets. But officials are reluctant to call the killings racially motivated.
‘This is where the really tough work starts in an investigation,’ says FBI agent James Finch. ‘This is where we can’t afford to make mistakes. It is 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.’
Part of the investigation has focused on Facebook postings that appear to have been written by the 19-year-old suspect, and suggest revenge may have been a factor. The Facebook update has since been taken down, but Jake England had used a racial slur and angrily blamed a black man for his father’s death two years ago. The posting said, ‘It’s hard not to go off,’ given the anniversary and the death of his fiancee earlier this year.”
Is it too early to call their murderous rampage against Tulsa’s Black population a hate crime?
Are you worried by the recent spate of racially-charged violence in America?
Sound off below!