TULSA, Okla. — Two men were arrested Sunday in a shooting rampage that left three people dead and terrorized Tulsa’s black community, and police said one suspect may have been trying to avenge his father’s shooting two years ago by a black man.
Police identified both suspects as white, while all five victims in the rampage early Friday were black.
Police and the FBI said it is too soon to say whether the attacks in Tulsa’s predominantly black north side were racially motivated. Police spokesman Jason Willingham said that investigators are considering many possible motives but based on Facebook postings, revenge appeared to be a factor.
In a Thursday update on Facebook that appeared to have been written by 19-year-old Jake England, he angrily blamed his father’s death on a black man and used a racial slur. He said Thursday was the second anniversary of his father’s death.
“It’s hard not to go off,” given the anniversary and the death of his fiancee earlier this year, the posting said.
The Facebook page had been taken down by Sunday afternoon.
The Tulsa World reported that England’s father, Carl, was shot in the chest during a scuffle with a man who had tried to break into his daughter’s apartment. England later died.
The man charged in the shooting is serving a six-year sentence on a weapons charge, according to Department of Corrections records.
Acting on an anonymous tip and backed by a helicopter, police arrested Jake England and Alvin Watts, 32, about 2 a.m. Sunday at a home in Turley, just north of Tulsa. The two men were roommates, and officers went to their home, then followed them several blocks to another home, where they were arrested without incident, police said.
Authorities said they planned to charge the men with murder and other offenses.
Calif. teen breaks off relationship with former teacher
MODESTO, Calif. — It’s over, says Jordan Powers, the 18-year-old California high school student who quit school to move in with her former teacher.
The 41-year-old James Hooker was arrested by Modesto, Calif., police Friday on charges of sexually assaulting a different teenage girl 14 years ago.
“He called me from jail and, yes, I told him that we’re done,” Powers told “ABC News” on Saturday morning. “I lost everything for this guy. I lost my senior year. I gave up all my friends at high school because they didn’t agree with me.”
Hooker posted $50,000 bail about 5 a.m. Saturday and was released from the Stanislaus County Jail, sheriff’s officials said. He avoided reporters who spotted him riding a bicycle in a park and in his apartment complex.
Until February, Powers was a student at Enochs High School and Hooker was a business teacher and adviser to several campus clubs. The former couple has said their student-teacher relationship became romantic last fall, after Powers turned 18.
The Modesto City Schools District suspended Hooker Feb. 3 during an initial investigation. He left his wife and three daughters two weeks later and moved into an apartment in Modesto. He moved Powers out of her mother’s house and into the apartment days later. He resigned his teaching position the same day and remains unemployed.
Alaska’s largest city breaks seasonal snow record
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A spring snowfall has broken the nearly 60-year-old seasonal snow record of Alaska’s largest city.
Inundated with nearly double the snow they’re used to, Anchorage residents have been expecting to see this season’s snowfall surpass the record of 132.6 inches set in the winter of 1954-55.
The 3.4 inches that fell by Saturday afternoon brings the total to 133.6 inches. National Weather Service meteorologist Shaun Baines said forecasters don’t expect more than an inch of additional accumulation.
Before a dumping of wet snow Friday, none had fallen since mid-March, and the seasonal measure hovered at 129.4 inches, or nearly 11 feet. The halt gave residents a chance to clear their snow-laden roofs and city crews an opportunity to widen streets squeezed by mountains of snow.
Extreme weather has hit not only Alaska. It’s also struck the lower 48, where the first three months of 2012 has seen twice the normal number of tornadoes and one of the warmest winters on record.
Pope marks Easter with call for Syria violence end
VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI implored the Syrian regime Sunday to heed international demands to end the bloodshed and expressed hope that the joy of Easter will comfort Christian communities suffering because of their faith.
Benedict, struggling with hoarseness and looking tired, celebrated Mass on Christianity’s most joyous holy day on the flower-adorned steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, before a crowd of faithful that swelled to far over 100,000 by the end of the 2-hour-long ceremony.
Only hours earlier the pontiff, who turns 85 on April 16, had led a long nighttime vigil service in the church. There have been concerns over his health, and he has recently used a cane in public appearances. He no longer walks down the basilica’s long aisle, traveling instead aboard a wheeled platform pushed by aides.
At the end of Sunday’s Mass, Benedict moved to the basilica’s central balcony to read his Easter message “to the entire world,” as he put it, delivering a ringing appeal for peace in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, and in Africa, citing coup-struck Mali and Nigeria, where Christians and Muslims alike have been hit by terrorist attacks.
“May the risen Christ grant hope to the Middle East and enable all the ethnic, cultural and religious groups in that region to work together to advance the common good and respect for human rights,” the pope said.
“Particularly in Syria, may there be an end to bloodshed and an immediate commitment to the path of respect, dialogue and reconciliation, as called for by the international community,” Benedict said, making Syria the first of several strife-torn countries he mentioned in his traditional “Urbi et Orbi” (Latin for “to the city and to the world”) Easter speech.