A black man in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was charged with murdering two white men in what appeared to be execution-style slayings last month, and authorities are calling it a racially motivated hate crime.
Carlton Gilford, a homeless man, allegedly shot two men in the back of the head at two separate locations on April 18, according to the Tulsa Police Department, Fox News reported. Lundin Hathcock, 35, was shot around 9:40 a.m. at the Rudisill Library, and James McDaniel, 55, was shot at a QuikTrip convenience store. Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said that evidence suggests Gilford shot both men because they were white, and he has been charged with a hate crime for his alleged killings.
“The allegation in this charge is that race or color played a role in these shootings,” Kunzweiler told Newsweek. “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 suspect allegedly walked up behind Hathcock while he was sitting at a desk and shot him in the back of the head. Hathcock was rushed to a hospital where he later died. Gilford then allegedly went to the nearby convenience store and shot McDaniel in the same manner before firing another shot at him after he fell to the ground. McDaniel died at the scene.
Authorities said that surveillance footage from the QuikTrip store showed Gilford firing at a security guard and another person outside the store. The suspected murderer was detained when officers arrived on the scene and he allegedly admitted to killing the two strangers.
“The investigation into the two deadly shootings is ongoing at this time and Detectives are still working to learn a motive,” the Tulsa Police Department said in a statement.
Gilford was charged with two counts of shooting with intent to kill, and one count of malicious intimidation or harassment, which is Oklahoma’s version of a hate crime, according to Fox News. The suspected murderer is being held without bond and is expected to appear in court on June 23.