04/12/2012 06:29 pm ET

Tulsa Shooting: Jake England's Hard Life, Not Hate, Led To Killing Of 3, Suspect's Friend Says

A family friend of one of the suspects in the Oklahoma rampage that left three black people dead says the shooting wasn't racially motivated.

Leaders of the predominantly black community in north Tulsa declared the alleged shooting spree by Jake England and Alvin Watts a hate crime -- but a woman who says she knew England all her life says it wasn't, in an exclusive interview by

Police say England, 19, and Watts, 32 confessed to the wild shootout last Friday that killed three and wounded two others.

England's friend -- identified only as Renee -- cited a difficult life at home for England.

"Jake lost his mom. He lost his dad. He lost his fiancé," Renee told the station.

Renee said that England's fiancé, Sherran, had committed suicide. That may be what sent him over the edge, she said.

"I don't think it was a black thing or a hate crime thing," Renee said. "I just think it was an area of convenience. ... What he did was wrong. There's no two ways about that."

"I'm thinking that he probably at that time wanted to be with his dad and fiancé, and maybe he thought he was gonna go down with him," she added.

England's father was shot and killed by a black man two years ago, and police have said that revenge could be a possible motive.

Both suspects were held on charges of first-degree murder and other counts since their arrest on Sunday. The killings haven't yet been deemed a hate crime by officials.