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Police: 2 suspects arrested in Oklahoma shootings
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Acting on a tip and shadowed by a helicopter, police arrested two men early Sunday in the recent shootings that terrorized Tulsa’s black community and left three people dead and two others critically wounded.
Police spokesman Jason Willingham said the two men were arrested at a home just north of Tulsa about 2 a.m. Sunday and were expected to be charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill in the spate of shootings early Friday. He said police made the arrests after receiving an anonymous tip.
While police identified the men as white and all the victims as black, authorities have not described the shootings as racially motivated and declined to discuss that issue Sunday.
Community leaders, however, expressed concern about the motivation for the shootings on Tulsa’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 chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Sunday that word of the arrests had provided a great sense of 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 one another, and all five victims were out walking when they were shot. Four of the victims were found in yards, and one in the street.
“There obviously still is a lot of investigation” ahead, Mr. Willingham said Sunday. “We don’t have a motive at this time. We are still asking questions, and hopefully that will become clear in coming days.”
Milan Cherry, Ms. Fields‘ niece, said her aunt didn’t have a car, and Ms. Cherry believed her aunt was walking home when she was shot. She described Ms. Fields as uplifting and a source of strength for their family in hard times.
“When we went through four deaths last year in our family, she still tried to uplift everyone, even though it was her brother and sisters and a nephew who died,” Ms. Cherry said.
She said she didn’t have much detail on the arrests but they were “a good thing.”
“He was just going around, murdering people for no reason,” she said, talking about the shooter. “Now we have to bury our aunt because of this fool.”
Mr. Willingham identified the men in custody as Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, but gave no hometowns for them. He said they were taken early Sunday for questioning at a downtown Tulsa police station, where they would be booked and jailed. More information will be provided at an afternoon news conference, he said.
It was not clear early Sunday whether the men had lawyers.
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