Facebook Page May Provide Clue in Tulsa Killings

Shootings of blacks followed murder anniversary of suspect's dad

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 9, 2012 1:35 AM CDT | Updated Apr 9, 2012 9:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Investigators are probing racially charged Facebook comments by one of two white men busted in the murder of black pedestrians in Oklahoma. The apparently random shootings by suspected gunmen Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32, left three people dead and two critically injured. The Tulsa shootings occurred nearly two years to the day England's father was shot dead by a black man, he noted with a racist slur on his Facebook page, reports ABC News. "Today is two years that my dad has been gone shot by a f------ n-----. It's hard not to go off," he reportedly wrote on Thursday. "Between that and Sheran"—referring to his recently deceased girlfriend—"I'm gone in the head."

Police have cautioned that it is too soon to conclude that these were hate crimes, even though, in the words of one police chief, "logic would lead you to believe that." The two men appeared in court today, where bond was set at $9.16 million apiece, the AP reports. The AP (and Newser) originally reported that they had been charged at that time, but they haven't been; formal charges will come at a later date. They are being held on suspicion of three counts of first-degree murder and two of shooting with the intent to kill.

Jake England (left) and Alvin Watts were busted in the shootings of five black male pedestrians last week in Tulsa.   (AP Photo/Tulsa Police Department via Tulsa World)
Federal Bureau of Investigation agent James Finch says it's too early to call the shooting of five black men in Tulsa a hate crime.   (AP Photo/Tulsa World, John Clanton)
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