Authorities in Tulsa are investigating a deadly shooting that left two people dead and a suspect in custody. On April 18, a homeless black man, Carlton Gilford allegedly shot and killed two white men in separate locations. However, an investigation is underway to determine whether race played any role in this tragic incident.
At the Rudisill Library, Gilford allegedly came up from behind 35-year-old Lundin Hathcock and shot him in the back of the head. Hathcock was rushed to the hospital but died from his injuries. Later that day, Gilford went to a nearby QuikTrip and shot 55-year-old James McDaniel in the back of the head. McDaniel fell to the ground, and Gilford fatally shot him again. Gilford then fired shots at a security guard and also at a bystander outside the shop before police arrived.
When officers encountered him, Gilford admitted to committing the two murders. He was soon arrested and then charged with two counts of first-degree murder, in addition to two counts of shooting with the intent to kill, and also one count of malicious intimidation or harassment, which equates to a hate crime in Oklahoma.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler noted that the information suggested that race played a role in the incident. He told KOTV, “The information suggests that race played a role in it.” Kunzweiler added, “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.”
Gilford is being held without bail and is due back in court on June 23.
The investigation is still ongoing, and Tulsa Police are closely examining if the killings were motivated by race. If determined, Gilford could face additional charges and more severe punishment. The events of that day have shaken the Tulsa community, and people hope for justice to be served. However, the hardship of this tragedy will remain with the families of Hathcock and McDaniel.