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Police say Tulsa suspects confessed

April 9, 2012 at 10:10 PM   |   Comments

TULSA, Okla., April 9 (UPI) -- Two suspects jailed in the deadly Tulsa, Okla., shooting spree that targeted black men confessed, police documents showed Monday.

Tulsa's KRMG Radio reported city police officer Jason Willingham confirmed the arrest and booking report show Alvin Watts confessed to shooting two people and Jake England admitted shooting three. Willingham told the radio station investigators believe Watts shot two of the three victims who died, meaning England shot one who died and the two survivors, Deon Tucker and David Hall.

KRMG also reported that while the suspects have been described as white, it had learned at least one, England, may be a member of the Cherokee Indian tribe.

England, 19, and Watts, 33, were ordered held in jail Monday on $9.16 million bail each. They made their first appearance before a judge via closed circuit video, the Tulsa World reported.

England and Watts didn't speak during the video appearance before Special District Judge Bill Hiddle.

Meanwhile, Tulsa police were investigating whether the suspects took turns firing at the victims, ABC News reported.

The shootings began about 1 a.m. Friday in north Tulsa. The first victim died at a hospital. Another person was shot and killed about 2 a.m. The body of the third victim was found about 8 a.m. next to a funeral home.

The dead were identified as Dannaer Fields, 49, Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31.

The two survivors were discharged from the hospital Sunday, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said.

Police said Watts and England were found together at a home near the area where the shootings occurred. During a news conference Sunday, police said officers recovered a gun believed used in the shootings.

But police have not said where the gun was found nor disclosed any forensic evidence, ABC News reported Monday.

Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said he couldn't comment on whether his office would charge the men with a hate crime until the police investigation was finished and turned over to him. He also cautioned media outlets from characterizing the killings as a hate crime.

"It's preliminary to determine what the motivation was behind this," Harris said. "If the evidence supports that, and we believe that we can prove the elements of a hate crime, that will certainly be considered at the appropriate time."

Investigators said Sunday they were reviewing England's Facebook page, which indicated he may have targeted blacks after his father was shot and killed by a black man, the Los Angeles Times reported. The shootings coincided with the second anniversary of his father's death.

"There is a link between the two," Willingham said. "Was that his only motive? We don't know. We're assuming that was a driving force."

FBI agent James Finch said during a news conference Sunday it was "way too early to call this a hate crime," the World reported.

"We have yet to analyze all the information to understand the motivations in this case," he said.

In Facebook postings last week, England used racial slurs to describe his father's killer, the World and other media reported. He also wrote emotionally about the death of his fiancee in January, drawing concerned responses from some Facebook friends, including Watts.

England's Facebook page appeared to have been taken down Sunday.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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