The Tulsa Police Department has arrested a homeless black man and charged him with a hate crime in the separate execution-style shootings of two white men.
Carlton Gilford allegedly shot two strangers in the back of the head on April 18, and authorities say “race played a role” in his deadly actions.
“Two weeks ago we arrested Gilford after he shot 2 people in the back of the head, one at Rudisil Library and the other at QuikTrip,” Tulsa PD said in a statement. “At this time, there does not appear to have been any connection between the victims and the suspect.”
“After examining the evidence from the case, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler, charged the suspect with the additional Hate Crime,” the statement continued. “This is an arrest and not a conviction.”
Gilford first went to the library, the department reported upon the suspect’s April 24 arrest. Once inside, “he walked up behind a man sitting at a desk and shot him in the back of his head.”
The victim, Lundin Hathcock, was transported to a hospital where he later died.
Gilford then went to the Quiktrip store, where he shot another man in the back of the head. When the victim, James McDaniel, fell to the ground, Gilford shot him again, police said.
Surveillance video shows the shooter firing at a security guard and another person outside the store.
McDaniel died at the scene.
Gilford was standing outside the store with police arrived. He confessed to shooting two people and was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
While Oklahoma doesn’t have a specific hate crime statute, Gilford was also charged with one count of malicious intimidation or harassment, the state’s equivalent, which includes targeting someone based on their race, Fox News Digital reports.
“The allegation in this charge is that race or color played a role in these shootings,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told Newsweek in a statement. “Based upon the investigation, we have reason to believe that race played a role in the homicides. That evidence will be presented in front of a judge or jury. Mr. Gilford has the presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a judge or jury.”
“The information suggests that race played a role in it,” Kunzweiler said, according to KOTV. “I feel like that is something we can prove, and it is something that a judge or jury obviously needs to listen to. So, we will present that information along with everything else.”
Gilford is currently being held without bond in the Tulsa County Jail due to the threat the suspect poses to public safety.
“Whenever you are talking about the dynamic where the safety of the public is at risk, in my mind, somebody who is killing somebody or doing harm toward somebody who they don’t know, that really amps things up,” the D.A. said.
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