Prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma, say there is evidence that a man who allegedly executed two people last month in separate shootings was motivated to target both victims because they were white.
On April 18, 35-year-old Lundin Hathcock was at a public library on the city’s north side when police say 61-year-old Carlton Gilford, who is black, shot him in the back of the head.
“Through the investigation, Homicide Detectives learned Carlton Gilford first went to the library,” the Tulsa Police Department said in a statement. “Inside the library, he walked up behind a man sitting at a desk and shot him in the back of his head.”
Officers said Gilford then walked to a nearby gas station where he encountered James McDaniel, 55, at a soft drink machine.
JUST IN: Tulsa County prosecutors say Carlton Gilford, the suspect in the shooting and killing of two Tulsa men last month, targeted the victims based on their race. Prosecutors say Gilford will face Oklahoma’s version of a hate crime charge. pic.twitter.com/oq2o9bVd1w
— Jonathan Cooper (@JCooperTV) May 1, 2023
Gilford allegedly shot McDaniel in the back of the head and then fired another round at him after he had fallen to the floor.
“Following the shooting at the library, Gilford went to the Quiktrip,” the department said. “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.”
Officers said Gilford also opened fire on two other people outside of the gas station but missed his targets.
Tulsa County Jail records show Gilford is being held without bond on two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of shooting with intent to kill.
He is also charged with felony malicious intimidation to harassment, which some have designated as a “hate crime” law — although the state does not have such a law on its books.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said police have shown him evidence the slayings were racially motivated, KOKI-TV reported.
“The information we have from law enforcement is that race had something to do with these shootings,” Kunzweiler said.
Oklahoma’s statute on malicious intimidation or harassment says:
“No person shall maliciously and with specific intent to incite or produce, and which is likely to incite or produce, imminent violence, which violence would be directed against another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability, make or transmit, cause or allow to be transmitted, any telephonic, computerized, or electronic message.”
It is believed the suspect had never met either Hathcock or McDaniel.
Tulsa police say upon his arrest, Gilford admitted to both murders.
“When Officers arrived, Gilford was standing outside the store,” police said. “He admitted to Officers on the scene that he shot two people.”
Gilford is expected to appear in court on June 23.
The Western Journal reached out to Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler for comment on this story but did not hear back in time for publication.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.