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Five years after the Good Friday killings, race relations still tense

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Five years ago the black community in North Tulsa was terrified. A pair of gunmen shooting innocent people in the street. (KTUL)

Five years ago the black community in North Tulsa was terrified. A pair of gunman shooting innocent people in the street.

Jake England and Alvin Watts shot five people, three of them passed away. The two men were both convicted and sentenced to five life sentences in 2013.

“Good Friday to me, as clergy, is about our lord,” says Pastor Warren Blakney of Christ Church North Peoria. “It’s about the cost and the price that he paid for our sins.”

But now, each Good Friday is tinged with remorse. Dannaer Fields, Bobby Clark, William Allen, David Hall and Deon Tucker just thought they were giving directions. When they turned their backs, they were gunned down.

“There was an unknown factor,” Pastor Blakney says. “We were not sure exactly who it is, why they were killing folks.”

Pastor Blakney was driving home from Arkansas when he got the call.

“They weren’t sure,” he remembers. “But they thought it may be tied together. And there were black folks being killed and it appeared that a couple of white guys were going through the community shooting people.”

They scenes of horror playing out in real time.

“The body count continued to go up,” he says. “And the shooting numbers went up. And it was always associated with two white guys in a truck.”

Those two men will never see freedom again, but there are people in North Tulsa who still live in fear.

“When the crisis is solved, we go back to business as usual,” Blakney says. “And that’s unfortunate. So we don’t have any discussions after the incidents are over about how we can resolve our differences.”

He says race relations still loom like an angry cloud over North Tulsa.

“I think it’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about,” he says. “On this occasion, the Good Friday shootings, this community did galvanize. They did come together.”

We did speak with a member of Dannaer Field’s family today who declined to go on camera. She said they still think about her every day.

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