Tulsa Police announced they are forming a task force with the US Marshal's office, FBI and Tulsa County Sheriff's office to catch the gunman in the recent string of North Tulsa shootings. They've dubbed the investigation "Operation Random Shooter." TPD Chief Chuck Jordan had a message for the suspect: "we're comin' for ya."
At a Saturday afternoon press conference, Chief Jordan said it would take at least a week to run down leads and urged citizens to report anything suspicious. Chief Jordan said the department is dedicating at least 30 people to the investigation. He says the FBI will provide expert interviews in order to detail a profile of the shooter.
The press conference was held regarding the string of shootings that left two men and a woman dead in the early hours of Good Friday. In all five people were shot in a five mile radius. William Allen, Bobby Clark and Dannaer Fields died; two other men are recovering.
Chief Jordan said of the two surviving victims, only one was able to give any kind of description. Police say they only have two distinct details: a white man in a white pickup.
Saturday, Chief Jordan said the pickup is an older model. Tulsa’s District One councilor, Jack Henderson also spoke at the press conference. It was in his district where all five shootings happened. He said the only way we are going to catch the gunman is if the public helps the police department.
“What we need more than anything is for people to stand up and join hands and fight this together because divided we are not going to do it but together we can,” said councilor Henderson.
He knows police have no evidence to definitively say what he believes is true.
“This is a hate crime any way you look at it,” said councilor Henderson. “It is a white male who came into a black community and only shot black people. So, I think it's going to end up that way.”
Those living in the councilman’s district feel the same way, targeted.
“People are living through a thing that was old school, we like to say,” said Philip Hargett. “It's not going away.”
“It scares the daylights out of me,” said his wife, Migdalia Hargett.
The Hargett's have lived in the area for 30 years.
“I was like oh my God,” said Mrs. Hargett after she heard one of the shootings was in her old neighborhood near 53rd Street and another one was one block away, at 36th Street North and Hartford, from her home.
Mr. Hargett moves his trash can now to place on the front side of his home rather than the side so he doesn’t have to turn his back to the street. He wants to see his surroundings at all times.
“It's going to be a couple days for all of us to get over this,” Said Mr. Hargett.
Police hope it won't take any longer than that with the public's help.
“Take care of each other,” said Chief Jordon at the press conference. “We need information.”
Friday, TPD warned the North Tulsa community to be alert and not approach any driver who was inquiring about directions and/or beckoning individuals to any vehicle. However, Chief Jordan says the evidence is not strong enough to indicate that that is the shooter's specific method of trying to find victims.
He said there were commonalities among all of the shootings that lead TPD to believe there is one shooter. He said all victims were shot with a small caliber bullet, however, OSBI will perform ballistics tests early next week to determine if the same weapon was used in all five shootings.
Tulsa police called the shooting spree "unprecendented." All of the individuals were walking alone between 1am and 8am Friday morning when they were shot. The Tulsa Chapter of the NAACP and community leaders made a call to action during a community meeting Friday night, warning the community to be on high alert.
Chief Jordan said "there's a very logical theory that this could be a hate crime." He said if the evidence takes him and his officers in the direction of a hate crime, it will be investigated and prosecuted as such. Right now, he says the department is concerned that "three citizens have been murdered." The FBI will further investigate the hate crime angle in their profiling of the gunman.
Chief Jordan urged Tulsans to report anything suspicious; even what you may believe is the smallest tip. You can call TPD's Homicide Department at 918-798-8477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS or email. Below you will find more information on reporting crime tips.
Keep checking in with FOX23 News & FOX23.com for further updates on this developing investigation.
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