Tulsa Police: Crime Tips, Task Force Lead To Suspected Shooters' Capture

Sunday, April 8th 2012, 4:56 pm
By: Dee Duren

Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said Sunday afternoon that a tremendous public response and "scores of tips" to the Crime Stoppers line were solely responsible for the capture of two Tulsa men suspected of randomly shooting five people, killing three, in North Tulsa on Good Friday.

Police called a news conference Saturday afternoon to announce the formation of "Operation Random Shooter," a task force that was to dedicate 30 officers to finding the people responsible for the murders.

Within 24 hours of its formation, the task force arrested Jake England, 19, and Alvin Watts, 32. The men were booked into Tulsa County Jail Sunday morning on complaints of first-degree murder and shooting with intent to kill.

4/8/2012 Related Story: Two Arrested In North Tulsa Shooting Spree

About the murders, Jordan said, "It sickens me. It angers me. This is not what Tulsa, Oklahoma is all about."

Jordan said the arrests would have been impossible without the public's help.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett said that while the shooting spree was "unprecedented" in Tulsa, the outpouring of tips to the Crime Stoppers line and the dedication of law enforcement are proof that Tulsans place importance on safety and justice.

"I've never been so proud to represent this city," Bartlett said. "Once again, Tulsans showed their true character."

Maj. Walter Evans of the TPD said officers had multiple credible tips that led to establishing surveillance on England and Watts.

England and Watts were taken into custody at a home in the 6200 block of North Yorktown, where England was doing tile work on a mobile home.

Booking information lists the same home address for England and Watts, and police confirmed they are roommates, calling them associates, but "not blood-related."

Police confirmed Sunday they recovered a weapon at the home England and Watts shared, but wouldn't offer any information about the caliber.

Jordan said earlier in the weekend that the murders were committed with a small-caliber weapon, and the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation would conduct ballistics tests early this week.

They are still in the process of determining which man was the shooter, Evans said.

Dead in the Good Friday killings are Dannaer Fields, William Allen and Bobby Clark. Two other people were seriously wounded in the shooting spree, but have been released from the hospital.

After being shot, one of the survivors described the suspect as a white man, driving an "older" white truck.

The Crime Stoppers tipster told police that Jake England was in possession of a white truck and that he was planning to burn the vehicle. Osage County deputies found the vehicle burned at 6000 North Osage Drive.

The tag on the truck checked to Carl or Jacob England.

According to his Facebook page, which has since been removed, England's father Carl was shot and killed two years ago.  Pernell Jefferson was arrested in conjunction with Carl England's death on April 7, 2010.

4/8/2012 Related Story: North Tulsa Shooting Suspect Arrested Two Years After Father's Murder

Jefferson is currently incarcerated at William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply, but on charges of drug and firearm possession.

Jake England's Facebook page includes a photo of his father on a collection jar, with the caption: "In loving memory: Carl England, father shot and killed trying to protect his children and grandchildren."

Jake England's fiance, Sheran Hart Wilde of Tulsa, died on January 10, 2012, according to the obituary posted on Johnson Funeral Service's web site. She was also the mother of his child, Jacob Carl England II.

The Facebook profile also adds support to the theory that the victims were targeted because of their race. It contains racial slurs, and at 3:40 p.m. Thursday, hours before the murders, the following post:

"Today is two years that my dad has been gone shot by a [expletive deleted]. it's hard not to go off. between that and sheran I'm gone in the head."

On Friday at 10:15 p.m. the following post appears:

"I do believer it just mite be the time to call it quits I I hate to say it like that but I'm done if something does happen tonite be ready for another funeral later."

Police confirmed Sunday that social networking information is a routine part of an investigation, but wouldn't speculate on Jake England's public information and how it connects to the murders.

Warren Blakney, a minister at a city church and president of the NAACP's Tulsa branch, said the shootings could well prove to be hate crimes given that they happened in a predominantly black neighborhood.

4/8/2012 Related Story: Prayer Service Held For Victims Of North Tulsa Shootings

"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," Blakney told CNN.

Tulsa City Councilor Jack Henderson, who serves the district where the killings took place, said he feels like there are legs to the hate-crime theory.

"I think that somebody that committed these crimes were very upset with black people," Henderson said. "That person happened to be a white person. The people that they happened to kill and shoot were black people."

FBI Special Agent in Charge James Finch said it is still too premature to talk about hate crimes.

Officers said the investigation process is a tedious one, and it is still in the early stages.

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

Jordan was asked if he was ever worried riots would incite, because of the public assumption race was a motivating issue in the murders.

"I have much more faith in my fellow Tulsans than that," Jordan said. "They trusted us to do our job."