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Prayer Service Held For Victims Of North Tulsa Shootings

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Community leaders bow their heads during a prayer service Sunday. Community leaders bow their heads during a prayer service Sunday.
A prayer service was held Easter Sunday in Tulsa. A prayer service was held Easter Sunday in Tulsa.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

All eyes seem to be on Tulsa, especially when terms like "hate crime" and "racially motivated" are being used to describe a shooting rampage that happened Friday morning.

The Tulsa community is coming together after three people were randomly murdered and two seriously injured.

4/8/12 Related Story: Tulsa Police Say Tips, Task Force Lead To Killers' Capture

The North Peoria Church of Christ held a prayer service for the victims and their families on Sunday.

About 100 church and community members scattered throughout the sanctuary to honor the victims.

Five roses were placed at the front of the church to symbolize that life is delicate.

It was Easter Sunday, a day meant for rejoicing, but it was overshawdowed by sadness.

"We're affected by the death. We're affected by the shooting. We're affected by what happened on the streets of North Tulsa," Warren Blakney, North Peoria Church of Christ Minister, said.

Scattered throughout the pews of church was a mix of people from all walks of life, gathered in prayer for the five victims who were gunned down Friday morning.

"It's just sad that they want to hurt someone, who wants to hurt someone?" Norma Brooks said.

The shock of the shootings is still fresh, and the question "why" is front and center.

"They're hurt," Margaret Love said. "They don't understand why their family members was picked out."

The crimes have brought national attention to the area.

Striking a nerve with those who call Tulsa home.

"I don't know who [the killers] are, or what they are or where they come from, but I just think they came over to the north side to cause all this confusion," Brooks said.

"I feel like when you have five people shot and all are African-Americans, I feel like it may have been a hate crime, yes," Love said.

The word hate may be resounding. But the word fear is not.

"I'm not afraid," Love said. "I grew up in this community; I will not be afraid here."

The message at Sunday's service was that it's time to move forward, and to move past the color of skin.

"This is 2012, and today we stand together --  black and white, brown and red and yellow and every color in the rainbow," Rev. Marlin Lavanhar said.

"Color shouldn't mean anything," Darrell Grant said. "Everybody should just get along."

A community standing together, searching for healing and hoping to eliminate a world with too much hate.

 "We can't do that to people -- my goodness -- I don't care what color they are," Brooks said. "God made them. We didn't have nothing to do with it."

Blakney says he plans on working with the mayor and other community churches in hopes of reducing violence in Tulsa. He asked the audience to pray for healing for the nation and healing for the city.

One member of the NAACP said, "this should not be a black issue or a white issue, but a Tulsa issue."

Members of the church said they relieved that two men, Jake England and Alvin Watts, were arrested early Sunday in connection to the shootings.

Investigators said in a news conference that it is still too premature to talk about hate crimes, even though a Facebook page attributed to one of the suspects contains racial slurs and hints at revenge in conjunction with his own father's murder, which happened two years ago almost to the day.

A black man has been accused of killing Jake England's father, Carl.

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said the investigation process is a tedious one, and it is still in the early stages. Authorities are including the Facebook page as evidence, Jordan said.

He said that if, throughout the course of the investigation, evidence points to a clear hate crime, he feels "it is something we need to show the community."

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