On April 18, 2023, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 61-year-old Carlton Gilford went on a killing spree and killed two innocent men.
He first entered Tulsa’s Rudisill Library and shot Lundin Hathcock, a 35-year-old man, in the back of his head. Hathcock, at the time of his murder, was quietly sitting at a library desk and using the computer, bothering no one. But he died that day, killed by Carlton Gilford.
Tulsa police then responded to the library to deal with that situation, at which time Gilford slipped out of the library and made his way to a nearby QuikTrip convenience store and killed another man, James McDaniel, 55, by shooting him in the back of the head.
Police said that the murders were “random,” with Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin saying, “We believe thus far from everything we’ve uncovered, this was just a random event,”
Continuing, he added, “I know that’s the question everyone wants to know now, is why? Why did this happen? We want to know that as well. It is quite possible we may not know that.” He then said, “As a society, so many things are happening, such violence that is being displayed, to the point that it is something that we are absorbing in our everyday life. We are saying oh wow, yep, another shooting here, another murder here.”
Next, Chief Franklin said, “We as a society need to take a step back and try to figure out why these things are happening. What are the root causes that’s leading people to a destructive path like this. and see if there’s some way we can address that.”
He again claimed it was just a “random” double homicide, saying, “It hurts all of us when something like this happens. This random act. occurs. That we can’t explain. This is one of those that we just can’t explain.”
The Tulsa City-County Library released this statement regarding the shooting: “The Tulsa City-County Library is deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred today, April 18, at Rudisill Regional Library. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victims. The Library is committed to supporting its employees and customers in this difficult time and is cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation. The Rudisill Regional Library will remain closed until further notice.”
QuikTrip released this statement on the shooting: “QuikTrip’s top priority is always the safety of our employees and customers – a responsibility we take very seriously. We are saddened by the tragic event that took place this morning and we are working closely with Tulsa Police and will continue to assist with their ongoing investigation. Said, Aisha Jefferson-Smith, QuikTrip’s Corporate Communications Manager.”
Carol Starks told 2 News Oklahoma, when describing the QuikTrip shooting, “I heard pop, pop and saw people coming out of the QuikTrip. They were scared to death I guess because the shooter just shot the guy in the back of the head in there and didn’t know if he was going to shoot at them either.”
Similarly, Steven Nelson, who swung into the QuikTrip to get gas, said, “Everybody was standing back and there were police surrounding the building and at least one of them had a riot shield. The other one had a rifle in hand, and I assumed there was somebody still in the building armed and dangerous just from the way it looked.”
The Tulsa Police said, in their Facebook post on the shooting, that Gilford had been arrested previously.
Featured image credit: Tulsa Police Department Facebook
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