The death of Ella Loftis, 59, has both the police depart­ment and community seeking an­swers. And the initial answers in­dicate Loftis’ death and the death of Volonte An­derson was gang related.

Capt. Kevin Norris, Ardmore Police Depart­ment, said authorities are searching for Ricky Gene McGee, Jr., Juaren Dezaun McGee, Sr., Rodney Marquis Cohee and Norman Dimitri Le­voy Wash­ington as persons of interest in the death of Loftis and Anderson. Loftis’ body was discovered at 6:50 a.m. Monday morning. At 2:03 a.m. Sunday morn­ing, the police de­partment responded to a call of shots fired in the park­ing lot of a local enter­tainment venue. An­derson was shot in the head and transported to Oklahoma City where he was pronounced dead just hours later.

“We are pretty confident we have tied the shootings to gang activ­ity,” Norris said. “We are still in­vestigating the partic­ulars. At this time, we are not able to deter­mine why this all started.

“I want to say they (shootings) are related.”

A passing motorist discovered Loftis on her porch in the 900 block of A Street NE. The motorist saw Loftis sitting on the porch, slumped over, and thought it was strange. After rounding the block to take another look, the motorist discovered blood on the victim. The police department received the call at 6:50 a.m.

"Officers went into the area, did not see anyone walking around or driving," he said.

The department has not recovered a murder weapon and is waiting to hear from the Oklahoma Medical Examiner's Office to determine how many times Loftis was shot. Norris said there was evidence of the house also being hit by gunfire but are waiting to verify what kind of weapon was used in the shooting. Norris also said the department is not 100 percent able to determine whether Loftis was approached and shot, or if she was shot from a vehicle.

"We have received a lot of calls today from people trying to help," he said. "We are hearing the same story over and over." Anderson, 31, had just been released from the Department of Corrections prior to his murder. The department reported a physical altercation which turned deadly. The department has not recovered the murder weapon but recovered nine casings as well as a bullet discovered in a nearby residence Sunday afternoon.

Norris said residents should exercise caution with the persons of interest. The department will also increase its presence in areas of concern.

"We are heightening patrols in response to the situation," Norris said.