Gunman shot, killed 3 white men ‘solely based on race’: Fresno police chief

Posted at 12:02 AM, Apr 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-19 00:02:11-04

FRESNO, Calif. – Police said a man fatally shot three people Tuesday in Fresno, California, in less than two minutes in what authorities are calling a hate crime.

The three victims were white, and apparently chosen at random, police said. The suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, is black, police said.

Muhammad had posted on social media a dislike for white people and government officials, Fresno, California, police Chief Jerry Dyer said. He also yelled "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) when he was arrested Tuesday, officials said.

"We do not believe ... that this is a terrorist-related crime," Dyer told reporters. "This is solely based on race."

The FBI is assisting in the investigation, the police chief said.

Muhammad fired 16 rounds within 60 to 90 seconds, Dyer said.

He shot a 34-year-old PG&E truck passenger and two other men -- a 37-year-old and a 58-year-old -- in downtown Fresno, Dyer said.

Muhammad will face four counts of murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, officials said. The fourth murder count is from a previous incident.

Muhammad also is accused of firing at a 59-year-old white man coming out of a house, but he missed, the police chief said. Muhammad then pointed a gun at three Hispanic women, including a 4-year-old, in a car, but did not fire, Dyer said.

The shootings occurred within a block-and-a-half of each other, Dyer said.

"We had three people that were shot and killed and one person shot at in less than a two-minute time frame in the city of Fresno," the police chief said.

Dyer said the slain men are believed to have had no connection to Muhammad.

Two of those shot at were near Catholic Charities and were clients of the social services agency, Dyer said.

Muhammad surrendered to police shortly after the fourth shooting, telling an officer: "I did it. I shot them," the police chief said.

He was being sought in the April 13 slaying of Carl Williams, 25, an unarmed security guard shot outside a Fresno Motel 6.

In a statement, Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said: "This is a sad day for us all."

The statement said: "My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. None of us can imagine what they must be going through."