2 arrested in north Tulsa shootings that claimed 3 lives
BY AMANDA BLAND & ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writers
Monday, April 09, 2012
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Tulsa police arrested two men Sunday in a series of shootings that left three Tulsans dead and two injured after "scores" of tips from residents were received, they said.
Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, are being held at the Tulsa Jail on three first-degree murder complaints, two complaints of shooting with intent to kill and a single complaint of possession of a firearm while committing a felony.
England and Watts were arrested at 1:47 a.m. Easter Sunday, about 48 hours after a Good Friday marred by police discovering multiple gunshot victims in a three-mile area of north Tulsa.
Police said the men were found together at a home in a Turley neighborhood less than a mile from their residence and near the area where the shootings occurred.
Authorities received several anonymous tips that indicated England was the shooter, according to his arrest report. Police then discovered their location after attempting to serve a search warrant at their home in the 2800 block of East 61st Street North.
"I'm just really amazed at how quickly we were able to apprehend these two subjects, but there are still a whole lot of unanswered questions that we have to have answered," said Tulsa Police Maj. Walter Evans, commander of the detective division and of the Operation Random Shooter joint task force established Saturday.
Police said Sunday during a news conference that officers recovered a gun they believe to have been used in the shootings but declined to elaborate.
Despite national media coverage inferring that the shootings may have been racially motivated, Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said it's too early to tell if they were. Police have said all of the shooting victims are black. Arrest reports say England and Watts are white.
"We're going to let the evidence take us where we want to go," Jordan said. "There are other motivations than race sometimes in these type of incidents, and we're going to look at it all."
Jordan said he didn't anticipate federal charges against England and Watts but said if evidence of a hate crime is uncovered, the two could be tried in accordance with state hate crime statutes.
Police declined to discuss alternative motives but confirmed England's father was slain in Tulsa in 2010. The man charged in that case is black, court records show.
City Councilor Jack Henderson reaffirmed concerns expressed with Tulsa's black community and elsewhere that the shootings may have been hate crimes.
"I think that somebody that committed these crimes was very upset with black people," he said. "That person happened to be a white person. ... That fits the bill for me, that's a personal feeling."
Carl England, Jake England's father, was fatally shot at Comanche Park Apartments, 3608 N. Quaker Ave., a quarter-mile east of where victim William Allen was found.
The man arrested following Carl England's death, Pernell Demond Jefferson, was charged in the case with pointing a firearm and is serving a prison sentence through October 2014, according to Department of Corrections records.
Finding the suspects
Jake England makes several references to the two-year anniversary of his father's death on his Facebook page, including a post at 3:04 p.m. Thursday that says, "Today is two years that my dad has been gone shot by a f------ n----- it's hard not to go off between that and sheran I'm gone in the head."
England's Facebook page indicates that his girlfriend, Sheran Hart Wilde, recently died. Her death notice was published Jan. 12 in the Tulsa World.
Family members of England and Watts maintain neither man harbored racist tendencies.
Jordan and city leaders lauded law enforcement's efforts and expediency in capturing England and Watts at an Easter Sunday press conference.
"I can tell you right now there's no chief of police right now more proud of his department and the collaborative agencies that his department works with than I am," Jordan said.
"The calls I got from agency heads wanting to volunteer their people is indicative of how we look at this kind of crime in Tulsa, Okla. I can't say enough about how everybody in law enforcement came together also to go out and get these guys."
Mayor Dewey Bartlett commended Jordan, who he said "helped set the tone that we were going to get these guys, that we were coming."
The arrests came less than 12 hours after authorities formed a task force called Operation Random Shooter, which consisted of 30 investigators from the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI.
Callers to Tulsa's Crime Stoppers tipline told police England owned a white pickup and intended to burn it.
Osage County deputies found a burned white Chevrolet pickup near 6000 N. Osage Drive about 6 p.m. Saturday, arrest reports show. The truck's registration checked to Jacob or Carl England, the arrest report shows.
Jake England's first name is listed in jail records as Jacob.
Victims and their families
Bartlett, Henderson and a representative from the Federal Bureau of Investigation also expressed empathy for the victims' families at the conference.
Dannaer Fields, 49; Bobby Clark, 54; and William Allen, 31, suffered fatal gunshot wounds and were found within three miles of one another between 36th and 63rd Streets North from Osage Drive to Peoria Avenue on Friday morning.
Funeral services for Fields are pending at Crown Hill Funeral Home in Tulsa. Service arrangements for other victims had not been announced as of Sunday night.
Two other men were wounded in a fourth shooting but were expected to survive. They have not been identified, but police said Sunday they had been released from local hospitals.
"To the families who have lost loved ones, I'd like to extend a sincere expression of condolence," said James Finch, special agent in charge of the FBI's Oklahoma City field office. "(It's) very heartfelt because no family should be subjected to this."
''Hopefully...this (arrests) adds some degree of closure for the families,'' he said.
William Allen's wife, Jeanette, said Sunday the arrests won't bring her husband back, but it isn't her place to judge the men.
"I don't have a heaven or hell to put anybody in," she said.
Jeanette Allen said their family is left to struggle "for no reason."
Original Print Headline: 'Degree Of Closure'
Amanda Bland 918-581-8413
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
Renae Shoates (left); Margaret Love; the Rev. Marlin Lavanhar; the Rev. Warren Blakney, local president of the NAACP and minister of the North Peoria Church of Christ; and Kavin Ross participate in a remembrance of Friday's shooting victims at the church on Sunday. The two red roses represented the two injured victims, and three yellow roses were for those who were killed. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World
Jake England, 19
Alvin Watts, 32