Friend Of Tulsa Shooting Suspect Says Past Trauma, Not Hate Led To Killings

Wednesday, April 11th 2012, 10:14 pm
By: Tess Maune

A close family friend of one of the suspects in Good Friday's deadly shooting rampage says the shooting was not racially motivated.

Tulsa Police say Jake England and Alvin Watts shot five black people on Tulsa's north side, killing three.

04/09/2012 Related Story: Police: Two Suspects Confessed In Tulsa Shootings

Many believe the shootings were racially motivated, but a woman who knew Jake England all his life says they weren't.

The woman said that Jake had a hard home life, and she wonders if that may have lead to the violence.

"Jake lost his mom. He lost his dad. He lost his fiancé," Renee said.

Jake England grew up with what many would consider a dysfunctional family life. His parents divorced when he was young. When he was just 13, his mother was sentenced to 28 years in prison for first degree arson. Then four years later, his father was killed outside the Comanche Park Apartments.

"They've been on their own for the last two years," Renee said.

England found solace in his fiancé, Sherran, the mother of his baby boy. But that relationship also ended in tragedy; Renee says Sherran committed suicide in January.

Enough hurt, Renee says, to possibly send England over the edge.

"I'm thinking that he probably at that time wanted to be with his dad and fiancé, and maybe he thought he was gonna go down with him," she said.

Renee is convinced Friday's shootings had nothing to do with race, but had everything to do with location. The shootings happened just miles from England's home.

"I don't think it was a black thing or a hate crime thing," she said. "I just think it was an area of convenience.

"What he did was wrong. There's no two ways about that."

Renee says she's still trying to piece together why this happened. But her biggest question is about Alvin Watts' involvement.

Watts, 32, was living with 19-year-old England at the time. Renee says she's worried about the influence Watts may have had on England.

"He should have told him ‘no son, you don't know what you're doing,'" she said. "That's what he should have said instead of just getting in the truck with him."

England and Watts have yet to be charged. They're each being held on more than $9-million bond.