TULSA, Okla. - The two white men accused of killing three black people and wounding two others in a shooting spree that terrified this city over Easter weekend confessed to the police shortly after their arrest Sunday morning, the authorities said Monday.
The two men - Jacob C. England, 19, and Alvin L. Watts, 32 - were arrested following a series of shootings Friday that city and community leaders believe were racially motivated.
England and Watts randomly shot pedestrians and residents as they drove a pickup truck through the predominately black neighborhoods of north Tulsa, the authorities said.
England told the police that he shot three of the victims, and Watts admitted shooting two of them, said Officer Jason Willingham, a spokesman for the Tulsa police.
England said he was the driver of the pickup during all the shootings, Willingham said.
Investigators said they were able to later determine that England shot one of the victims who died and the two who were wounded, and that Watts shot the two others who died.
Willingham said he could not discuss what the two men said about their motivations during their interviews, citing the ongoing investigation.
At a brief court hearing Monday morning, Special Judge William Hiddle announced the bail for each of the suspects at $9.1 million - $3 million for each of the three counts of first-degree murder, $75,000 for each of the two counts of shooting with intent to kill and $10,000 for possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Police officials and prosecutors said it was too early in their investigation to say whether the shootings were racially motivated.
The shootings took place the day after the two-year anniversary of the death of England’s father, Carl.
The elder England was shot and killed April 5, 2010, at an apartment complex, and the man who was a person of interest in the case, Pernell Jefferson, is black.
Hours before the first shooting, England posted a message to his Facebook page about his father’s death and the recent suicide of his 24-year-old fiancee, Sheran Hart Wilde, with whom he has an infant son.
“Today is two years that my dad has been gone,’’ he wrote, and then he used a racial epithet to describe Jefferson. “It’s hard not to go off between that and sheran I’m gone in the head.’’
Hiddle set the arraignments for April 16. The men have not yet been appointed lawyers.
Two men and one woman were killed in the shootings - Dannaer Fields, 49; Bobby Clark, 54; and William Allen, 31.
The two men who were wounded - identified Monday by police as Deon Tucker, 44, and his friend, David Hall, 46 - were standing outside Tucker’s house about 1 a.m. Friday, when a pickup truck pulled up and the man or men inside asked them for directions, according to interviews with neighbors, friends, and the authorities.
Tucker’s roommate, Michael Daugherty, 50, said that Tucker was shot in the back and that Hall was shot in the stomach. Both men were hospitalized but have been released.
Willingham said investigators will also be looking into previous unsolved shootings in the area to see if any links can be made to the suspects.
“There’s nothing on our radar yet,’’ he said. “We will definitely go down that road, but it’s not going to be today. Job number one at this point is wrapping up the five shootings.’’