England and Watts were arrested at a house north of Tulsa around 2 a.m. on Sunday after a series of deadly shootings on Friday that left three black pedestrians dead and two critically wounded.
The five victims were shot early Friday morning in four separate incidents during a span of less than two hours on the same side of town and not far from one another, police said.
Police identified the deceased victims as Bobby Clark, 54, and William Allen, 31, and Dannaer Fields, 49, the only woman among the victims. There was no connection between the suspects and victims, police said at a news conference on Sunday.
Two males were critically wounded in the shooting spree. All of the victims were targeted while they were out walking, and apparently did not know each other.
“We have not been able to find any commonality between the victims other than they were walking on the street,” Sgt. Dave Walker of the Tulsa Police Department said.
One of the victims who survived the attack described the shooter as a white male in a white pick-up truck, a detail that proved critical in finding and arresting the suspects.
Police say their investigation will include Jake England’s racially charged Facebook postings, although they say it’s premature to describe the incident as a hate crime.
The shootings occurred nearly two years to the day after a black man shot England’s father to death, according to his Facebook posting.
“I’m just really amazed at how quickly we were able to apprehend these two subjects,” Task force commander Maj. Walter Evans said at a news conference Sunday. “But there are still a whole lot of unanswered questions that we have to have answered.”
The FBI’s James Finch, who was part of the task force handling the case, called it “very premature to talk about hate crimes. We have yet to analyze all the information to understand the motivations of the subjects in this case.”
Although police were reluctant to call the killings a hate crime, others were less so.
“Somebody that committed these crimes were very upset with black people,” Tulsa Councilman Jack Henderson said on Sunday. “That person happened to be a white person. The people they happened to kill and shoot were black people. That fits the bill for me. That’s a personal feeling.”
England and Watts are scheduled to be back in court on April 16.