TULSA, Okla. – Twenty-three-year-old twins were among four women found dead inside an apartment after an apparent daylight shooting in a crime-scarred south Tulsa neighborhood, city police said Tuesday.
Officers released the identities of the victims but, aside from the twins, did not say how the women knew each other or if they were related. Also discovered in the Riverwood apartment was a 3-year-old boy who was not wounded in Monday's shooting spree.
Detectives and officers were "beating the bushes" to figure out what happened, police spokesman Leland Ashley said Monday.
"Right now, we have no clear-cut suspect," Ashley said. "I don't want to strike fear in the community tonight, but we do have an individual or individuals who murdered four people. Do we know if there was a motive, like a jealous lover? We don't know that. We can't say if it was random or if someone knew (the victims)."
Police on Tuesday identified the victims as the twins, Rebeika Powell and Kayetie Melchor; Misty Nunley, 33; and Julie Jackson, 55. Police initially said the victims were in their late teens and early 20s and that the boy who survived was age 3.
Authorities have not released the name of the boy, who was taken into protective custody.
The women were found in a unit at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments. The gated complex has a nighttime security patrol but police believe the killings occurred in broad daylight. Officer Jill Roberson said police received a 911 call about 12:30 p.m. Ashley said someone had spoken to someone at the apartment less than an hour before then.
At the run-down apartment complex, bed sheets or cardboard hang as improvised draperies in many windows behind a black wrought-iron gate. The guard shack is empty and signs read "Curfew 10 p.m. for everyone, everyday" and "Photo ID required to be on property." Three of the units are burned out and boarded up with plywood.
Riverwood has long been plagued by crime, and Tulsa police say there were two murders in the Fairmont Terrace Apartments in 2012. Residents say gunfire and break-ins are part of the pattern of their everyday lives.
"We're in the eye of the storm," says Charles Burke, a 48-year-old construction worker. "You're on your toes. You can't be too careful."
Neighbor Jamie Kramer, a 28-year-old mother of two young children, has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. She said the crime seems to come in cycles and that things had been pretty quiet for several months until Monday.
"It escalates and goes back down, it escalates and it goes back down," she says. "Usually, it's bad when it gets hot."
Neighbor Ladawn Mack, a 25-year-old cashier, says she's used to seeing police cars in the street, and that Monday's quadruple homicide is enough to make her take extra precautions.
"We have a house alarm and I've always had a gun for my home," Mack said.
Resident Alexis Draite, 20, recently moved to Tulsa from Oklahoma City, believing it to be safer.
Her strategy for staying alive: "Lock the doors, lock the cars and don't stay outside longer than you need to."