A Tulsa man facing charges in connection with two fatal shootings was motivated, at least in part, based on the victims’ race or color, according to court records.
Tulsa County prosecutors named Carlton Jefferson Gilford, 61, in five counts filed Friday that allege he fatally shot two men and tried to kill two others with a handgun April 18 before he was arrested by police.
Gilford is also charged with targeting the two homicide victims because of their race or color, records show. He “unlawfully, and maliciously, willfully, wrongfully and intentionally and without justifiable or excusable cause,” intimidated and harassed the two victims by shooting them “because of their race or color,” according to court records.
Gilford is Black, while the two victims — Lundin Hathcock, 35, and James McDaniel, 55 — were both white.
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Hathcock was killed at the Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave., while McDaniel was shot multiple times at the QuikTrip at 1513 N. Peoria Ave.
Gilford is also alleged to have shot at a security guard and another person at the QuikTrip, according to police.
“Evidence through the investigation following the shooting led law enforcement to believe that it could be racially motivated, and so that’s why we filed that charge,” said Katie Keleher, spokeswoman for Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler’s office.
Keleher declined to elaborate on the evidence that led to the charge but noted that Oklahoma does not have a specific “hate crime” statute.
The law, Section 850 of the state’s crime and punishments statutes, makes it a misdemeanor for first-time offenders to “maliciously harass or intimidate” another person based on their race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin or disability.
The law pertains to events where someone is assaulted or battered, or when another person’s real or personal property is damaged, destroyed, vandalized or defaced.
A conviction on a first-time offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1,000. The violation is a felony for subsequent offenses, punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The statute, first made law in 1987 and last amended by the Legislature in 2001, has rarely been utilized by prosecutors.
In Tulsa County, the charge was levied in 2001 against two people after the 9/11 attacks in a case where a Pakistani man was beaten the night of the attacks, records show.
Two men faced similar charges following the 2012 Good Friday slayings of three Black people by two white men.
In one other high-profile Tulsa County case, two men were charged in 2000 with desecrating nearly 100 Jewish grave sites in Rose Hill Memorial Park.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections data indicates only six detainees have been held in the agency’s custody on such a specific statute, though crimes linked to some misdemeanor convictions are not specified in all cases.
Gilford, who shot himself prior to being arrested, spent about a week in the hospital recovering before he was jailed.
A person who in a phone call identified himself as Gilford’s brother declined to comment on the charges to the Tulsa World.
A preliminary hearing for Gilford has been scheduled for June 23.
April 19 video: Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin discusses shootings at library, QT after arrest