Jake England and Alvin Watts allegedly shot five people in Northern Tulsa in retaliation against the predominately black community. But are some government officials like Jack Henderson jumping the gun by saying that the incident was a hate crime before all the evidence is in front of them?
According to NPR, members of the community are suggesting the shootings were hate crimes; Watts is White while England has been identified in some records as white and in others as Native American.
The Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) claims that it has been established that England is not caucasian but a Cherokee Indian. The CofCC says, "this is the second time in a month that the international media has been falsely hyping a racist white spree killer."
Reporter Brad Gibson told NPR's Newscast Unit that England's father was allegedly killed by an African-American almost exactly two years ago and that is why people are beginning to believe that this was England's way of seeking vengeance.
According to the following CNN news video on YouTube, England wrote the following comments on his Facebook page:
"It might just be time to call it quits."
"It might be time for another funeral."
All five of the victims were shot in different locations and appear to have been picked at random.
The entire scene has left community members horrified and on edge.
Other reports indicate that England had never been able to overcome the loss of his father and his grief was aggravated after the mother of his child committed suicide.
While Tulsa police are reluctant to describe the shootings as hate crimes, City Councilman Jack Henderson views the crime as racially motivated: "Being an NAACP president for seven years, I think that somebody that committed these crimes were very upset with black people. That person happened to be a white person, the people they happened to kill and shoot are black people. That fits the bill for me."
Henderson worries that there will be race riots.
Could this be why he is pushing for the unfortunate event to be labeled as a hate crime? Will this prevent vigilantism?