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Neighbors fearful after shootings in Tulsa
Question of the Day
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — 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.
“You don’t want to be a prisoner in your own home,” he said.
Police are still waiting for the results of forensic tests, but investigators think the shootings are linked because they happened around the same time within a 3-mile span, and all five victims were out walking when they were shot. All the victims are black, and community met this weekend in an effort to calm any unrest.
One of the victims told police that the shooter was a white man driving a white pickup truck who stopped to ask for directions before opening fire. Officer Jason Willingham said Saturday that the pickup was spotted in the area of three of the shootings.
“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.”
More than two dozen officers are investigating the case, along with the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies, Willingham said.
As investigators searched for the killer, the tension and fear among some of the city’s black residents was palpable.
“It’s got everybody on edge,” said Louis Johnson, 24. “Everybody is saying the same thing — it’s a white guy in a white pickup or a Tahoe.”
Barber Charles Jones, 40, said the north side has had 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.
“The first I heard of it, it sounded like some type of gangland thing,” said 47-year-old parent Wayne Bell, who was hiding plastic eggs in the grass. “Everybody’s asking why. Everybody has to just stick together. It’s more of a keep close to the nest thing right now.”
The Rev. Warren Blakney Sr., president of the Tulsa NAACP, said “avid distrust” between the black community and the police department had raised concerns that the shootings wouldn’t be fully investigated, and he contacted police to emphasize the need for them to work together to avoid vigilantism.
“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,” he said. “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.”
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