The Tulsa Police Department’s Homicide Unit is grappling with an unusual barrage of five homicides in a period of 72 hours.
“This has been unreal,” Sgt. Brandon Watkins said. “It’s been one of the busiest three or four days since I’ve been here.”
Watkins took over the Homicide Unit in September 2018 after longtime lead detective Dave Walker retired.
Watkins said he experienced a similar run of homicides after he transitioned from the robbery unit into his new role, but many of them were connected. These five are separate, and they’ve left him hoping for a period of peace.
Police identified the victims of the two most recent killings on Sunday.
Desean Tallent, 25, died Saturday night after being shot and crashing an SUV in front of an east Tulsa grocery store, and Gregory Collins, 24, was shot to death early Saturday at a residence in west Tulsa.
Watkins said Tallent’s death is looking like a tough case to crack because authorities aren’t sure of the location of where he was shot.
About 8 p.m., Tallent crashed into at least two cars in the Walmart Neighborhood Market parking lot near 31st Street and Garnett Road before barreling into a soft drink machine near one of the store’s entrances, police said.
First responders found he had a gunshot wound and rushed him to Saint Francis Hospital, where he later died.
Detectives on Sunday were still trying to confirm where Tallent was shot, though they have a few leads to follow up, Watkins said.
As for potential suspects, Watkins said Tallent’s family was at a loss for who could have been behind the crime.
In the meantime, detectives would like to speak with anyone who witnessed the scene in the parking lot, including the occupants of a red car Tallent’s SUV crashed into before it hit the soft drink machine, Watkins said.
Earlier Saturday, about 12:15 a.m., officers found Gregory Collins, 24, shot to death at a residence in the 4800 block of South Elwood Avenue, according to a news release.
Collins’ girlfriend was at the residence at the time and identified Anthony Ahaisse as the suspect, saying he forced open Collins’ door and shot him multiple times, Watkins said.
Officers broadcast a description of Ahaisse’s vehicle, and he was found about 15 miles away, speeding across east Tulsa. He led police on a pursuit before stopping near 19100 E. Admiral Place.
Ahaisse, 28, was arrested on complaints of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm after a former felony conviction, first-degree burglary and eluding. He was booked into the Tulsa County jail and remained there Sunday on a hold for the murder complaint and $35,000 bail.
Watkins said Collins’ girlfriend used to date Ahaisse, but she said their relationship ended a long time ago and not on bad terms.
As of March 24 last year, there had been eight homicides in the city. Tallent’s and Collins’ deaths are the 13th and 12th homicides of 2019, respectively.
Police identified the 11th homicide victim Friday afternoon as David Wilfong.
Witnesses told police that Wilfong, 38, was the aggressor in a Thursday workplace dispute at a salvage yard in the 5500 block of East Archer Street. He was shot multiple times, and first responders pronounced him dead at the scene.
Police questioned the suspect, who surrendered his gun and concealed carry license, and released him, Watkins said, adding that his detectives will discuss the case with the district attorney.
The 10th homicide victim, 18-year-old Xzavion Chatman, was shot outside Edenwood Apartments, 2171 N. Hartford Ave., about five hours earlier.
A resident at the apartment opened his or her door upon hearing the commotion, and Chatman fell inside. He later died at a hospital.
Watkins said detectives are working on leads for potential suspects.
The ninth homicide, which began the 72-hour period of five killings, was reportedly committed because of a dispute over food stamps.
Watkins said Jessica McBride was arrested Wednesday night after she allegedly killed Tracy Russell, 49, and set her house in the 4900 block of North Johnstown Avenue ablaze.
Watkins said McBride had been living with Russell for a few days, and officers arrested her when she returned to the scene in an apparent attempt to reignite the fire.
McBride was booked into the Tulsa County jail and was being held there without bond on complaints of first-degree murder and arson.
Anyone with information about any of the homicide investigations is asked to call the homicide unit at 918-596-9135 or contact Crime Stoppers at 918-596-2677, p3tips.com/918 or through the Tulsa Tips app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play or iTunes stores.