Last week, prosecutors in Tulsa, Oklahoma said they were investigating whether race played a part in the April shooting where a homeless man shot and killed two white men, the New York Post reported.
On April 18, Carlton Gilford walked into the Rudisill Library in Tulsa and shot 35-year-old Lundin Hathcock in the back of the head. Hatchock, who was sitting at a desk, was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later died.
After leaving the library, Gilford later went to a QuikTrip convenience store where inside, he shot 55-year-old James McDaniel in the back of the head. When McDaniel fell to the ground, Gilford reloaded his weapon before shooting him in the head a second time. McDaniel was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gilford exited the store and was caught on surveillance footage firing at a security guard and another person outside of the store. When officers arrived at the scene, Gilford, who was still outside of the QuikTrip, admitted to shooting both Hathcock and McDaniel.
Both men were white and strangers to Gilford, who is black.
Gilford has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Hathcock and McDaniel, two counts of shooting with intent to kill for firing at the people outside of the store, and one count of malicious intimidation or harassment, which is how Oklahoma law describes a hate crime.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler told KOTV that based on the information available in the case, it is clear that the race of the victims played a role in Gilford’s crimes. He said he believes prosecutors will be able to prove the hate crimes charge, adding that it is something both the judge and a jury will need to hear.
Gilford is currently being held without bond. His next court date is scheduled for June 23.