Black man charged with hate crime in random shootings of 2 white men in Tulsa

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The man suspected in the fatal shooting of two white men in Tulsa, Okla. has been charged with a hate crime, meaning that prosecutors believe the victims’ race was part of the killer’s motivation.

Carlton Gilford is accused of shooting Lundin Hatchcock, 35, at the local Rudisill Library on April 18. After that, he is alleged to have gone to a Quiktrip and shot 55-year-old James McDaniel in the back of the head. 

Photo of Carlton Gilford’s arrest by Tulsa Police Department

“Through the investigation, Homicide Detectives learned Carlton Gilford first went to the library. Inside the library, he walked up behind a man sitting at a desk and shot him in the back of his head,” the Tulsa police said.

“Following the shooting at the library,” they continued, “Gilford went to the Quiktrip. Inside the store, Gilford again shot a male in the back of the head. When that victim fell to the ground, the suspect shot him again.”

Hathcock was bread dead upon arrival at a local hospital and never regained consciousness. McDaniel was pronounced dead on the scene. Hathcock’s mother said he spent a great deal of time at the library, using computers to look for work. 

The Tulsa Police Department announced the charges on Facebook. “SUSPECT CHARGED WITH HATE CRIME,” they wrote. “Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office charge Murder suspect, Carlton Gilford, with Hate Crime. 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.

“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. This is an arrest and not a conviction.”

“The allegation in this charge is that race or color played a role in these shootings. Based on 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,” Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told Newsweek.

Gilford, aged 61, was arrested this week after the April murders. He was charged with first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with the intent to kill. The hate crime charge was added after Kunzweiler determined that Gilford shot the men because he hated white people.

“The information suggests that race played a role in it and 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,” Kunzweiler said.

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