Police in Oklahoma have charged a man with a racially motivated hate crime after two white men were shot dead.
Homeless Carlton Gilford has been charged with the murders of Lundin Hathcock, 35, and James McDaniel, 55, in two different killings on April 18, the Tulsa Police Department has reported.
Gilford is alleged to have killed Hathcock in Rudisill Library, Tulsa, by walking up behind him as he sat at a desk and shooting him in the back of the head.
A short while later he allegedly went to a nearby QuikTrip convenience store and shot McDaniel twice, the second time as he lay on the ground following the first salvo.
Hathcock died in hospital while McDaniel died at the scene.
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Surveillance footage also shows Gilford shooting at another person and a security guard at QuikTrip, according to Fox News, which said the homeless man admitted to police to shooting Hathcock and McDaniel.
He has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder, 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.
Fox News says that under Oklahoma law, there is no specific hate crime statute, but malicious intimidation or harassment includes targeting someone based on their race.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler said the evidence supported that the two men were targeted based on race, but did not elaborate to Fox News about why he thought that.
“The information suggests that race played a role in it,” Kunzweiler is reported as saying.
“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.
“Whenever you are talking about the dynamic where the safety of the public is at risk, in my mind, somebody who is killing somebody or doing harm toward somebody who they don’t know, that really amps things up.”