Tulsa shooting suspects confessed, police documents show

(CNN) The 19-year-old Tulsa, Oklahoma, man whose Facebook page lamented his father’s death “at the hands of a f–king n—-r” told investigators he shot three of the African-Americans injured or killed in a Friday shooting spree, according to police documents. Fellow suspect Alvin Watts confessed to shooting the other two people, according to the documents, which include only summaries of the reported confessions and few details. Based on his statement, police believe Watts pulled the trigger in two of the three fatal shootings, according to the documents. A police spokesman declined to comment Tuesday when asked about the reported confessions. Authorities accuse the pair of gunning down apparent strangers at four different locations in a largely African-American section of Tulsa early Friday. Authorities identified the victims as Dannaer Fields, William Allen and Bobby Clark. The other two shooting victims survived. Police arrested Watts, 19, and Jake England, 33, early Sunday after tips led investigators to England’s burned pickup. The vehicle matched one reported at the crime scenes, according to the arrest reports. A judge ordered England and Watts held Monday on $9.16 million bond each pending formal charges on allegations of murder, shooting with intent to kill and gun possession. Police reports characterize both men as white, but authorities have declined to say whether they think race played a role in the shootings. An update posted to England’s Facebook page the day before the shootings noted it was the second anniversary of his father’s death “at the hands of a f–king n—-r.” The entry also mentioned his girlfriend’s recent suicide. Prosecutors will review whether hate crime charges are appropriate against England and Watts, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris said Monday. “If the motivation is racial in this case, then that needs to be vetted in a court of law just like any others,” Harris said. “It’s the law of the state of Oklahoma, and if the facts and the evidence support that, then we’re going to go forward with it.” Police Chief Chuck Jordan described England and Watts as apparently close friends who shared a home in Tulsa. One survivor of Friday’s shootings, Deon Tucker, told reporters Monday that he was standing on his porch when a white pickup pulled up and the driver asked him for directions. “Next thing I know, they start shooting,” he said. “What are they shooting me for? I ain’t got no enemies. I didn’t know what was going on,” recalled Tucker, who said he was shot once in the chest. He added that he understands that his race might have led to his shooting. But Tucker said he simply “got caught in the wrong spot” and isn’t “mad at anybody,” describing his shooter as a “lunatic.” On Friday, a friend had warned England not to “do anything stupid” after he posted a message Friday, apparently after the shootings, that read “It just mite be the time to call it quits.” “I hate to say it like that but I’m done if something does happen tonite be ready for another funeral later,” England wrote. “It’s hard not to go off between that and sheran I’m gone in the head,” he wrote, referring to his girlfriend. The Facebook page was taken down Sunday afternoon. Watts’ brother, Michael Watts, said the shootings “broke our heart,” CNN affiliate KTUL reported. “If that boy done this, there’s no excuse for it,” KTUL quoted Watts as saying. “I just want to apologize to those families. My heart goes out to them.” A man who identified himself as England’s uncle — speaking Monday outside the suspects’ home — said his nephew had been troubled by the recent suicide of his girlfriend and his father’s death in April 2010. “His mind couldn’t take it anymore, I guess,” the man said. “I guess it just snapped his mind.” Prosecutors declined to file homicide charges in the death of England’s father, ruling it a justifiable homicide, the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Monday. England and Watts remained jailed Tuesday pending an April 16 arraignment. Meanwhile, prosecutors prepared formal charges against the pair. While Harris declined to say Monday if hate crime charges would be included, City Councilor Jack Henderson said the online posts and the circumstances of the shootings lead him to believe that the shooters targeted their victims chiefly because of race. “You have an individual — a white male — going into a predominantly black community (to) shoot at black people. And with the other evidence … and some of the things that were said, that leads me to believe that this was totally a hate crime,” Henderson said. Tulsa was the scene of a 1921 race riot — considered one of the worst in the nation — that destroyed the famed Greenwood District, a wealthy black enclave known as the black Wall Street. Harris said the community’s response to the shootings said more about current race relations in Tulsa than the shootings should. “This community will not be defined by the treacherous, evil crimes of two individuals,” he said. “That’s not what Tulsa, Oklahoma, is about, and that’s not what our people are about,” he said. “The fact that this community drew together as one to stop this threat is what Tulsa is all about.” CNN’s Maria P. White and Jason Carroll contributed to this report.
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