Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma have arrested two men in connection with Friday's shooting spree that left three dead and two wounded--and sparked fears of a hate crime in the community.
According to Tulsa police, two white men--19-year-old Jake England and 32-year-old Alvin Watts, were arrested early Sunday.
"We're not exactly sure what their relationship is to another--whether they are friends or extended family members," Tulsa police capt. Jonathan Brooks told CNN. All five victims were black, Brooks said.
Before their arrests, police cautioned that there was no evidence a hate crime had been committed. "There's a very logical theory that would say that that's what it could be," Tulsa police chief Chuck Jordan said on Saturday. "But I'm a police officer. I've got to go by evidence."
According to CNN, local law enforcement, the U.S. Marshals and FBI had been searching for the suspects since early Friday when the string of shootings began.
According to the Associated Press, the men were arrested in at a home just north of Tulsa at 1:47 a.m. Sunday and "were expected to be charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill." Law enforcement, backed by helicopters, raided the home after receiving an anonymous tip, the AP said.
According to the New York Times, survivors had initially described the gunman as a single white male driving a pickup truck "with its tailpipe hanging." According to police, the suspect had stopped to ask victims for directions before shooting them.
The north Tulsa neighborhoods where the shootings occurred were described as predominately black.
"For a white male to come that deep into that area and to start indiscriminately shooting, that lends itself for many to believe that it probably was a hate crime," Rev. Warren Blakney, a local pastor, told CNN.
"You have somebody white who has come into a community and taken shots at, killing black people" Jack Henderson, a city councilman, told the cable network. "To me, that would indicate that we have some kind of a racial problem."
Brooks added: "We wanted to get the word out now so that when people woke up this Easter Sunday morning, they'll know that Tulsa is a little bit safer place."
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