Three people were shot and killed after a man went on a shooting spree Tuesday in central Fresno, randomly shooting at four white men, killing three, before he was taken into custody, police Chief Jerry Dyer said. The 39-year-old suspect, identified as Kori Ali Muhammad, is now in custody, Dyer said. Muhammad shouted "Allahu Akbar" as police tackled him to the ground after the shootings which were spread over four locations. The victims appeared to be random, Dyer said.
Mohammad is also suspected in the fatal shooting of a security guard outside a Motel 6 in central Fresno Thursday. He is facing four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, Dyer said. He said Muhammad had expressed dislike of whites; all of the victims were white.
Dyer called it a “random act of violence.”
According to the Fresno Bee, two of the people shot outside Catholic Charities may have been clients of the social service agency, not employees, Dyer said. The third victim was a passenger in a Pacific Gas & Electric truck. Another person was shot at but not injured.
Kori Ali Mohammad being detained. Police say he yelled "Allah Akbar" before arrest.
According to the police chief, the gunman walked up to a PG&E truck in the 300 block of North Van Ness Avenue about 10:45 a.m. and shot the passenger repeatedly. The driver of the pickup then sped to Fresno police headquarters on M Street.
The second shooting was only a few seconds later and was at Van Ness and Mildreda Street, where the gunman shot at but missed a resident. The gunman then turned onto Fulton Street and fired several rounds at another man, striking and killing him. After reloading at a bus stop, the gunman then shot and killed a man in the parking lot of Catholic Charities in the 100 block of North Fulton Street, he said.
Officers responding to the initial shotspotter reports found Muhammad running south on Fulton. The gunman then “dove onto the ground” and taken into custody, the chief said.
“As he was taken into custody, he yelled out ‘Allahu Akbar,’” Dyer said.
Although police found rounds of .357 caliber bullets and speed loaders for a revolver when Muhammad was taken into custody, no weapon was found, Dyer said.
Dyer said that it’s too soon to determine if the shootings involved terrorism. However, a review of Muhammad’s social media shows he quoted the phrase “Allahu Akbar” in a tweet.
THANK YOU ALLAH FOR THE CATACLYSMIC NATURAL DISASTERS STRIKING— Kori ALI MUHAMMAD (@BGODMAC) March 1, 2017
ALLAH U AKBAR #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO
The police chief noted that in Thursday’s shooting at Motel 6, which was caught on surveillance video, Muhammad did not make any similar statements. “What we know is that this was a random act of violence,” Dyer said. “There is every reason to believe he acted alone.”
Muhammad was identified early in the Motel 6 murder, based on the surveillance cameras, and officers had sought him in Madera and other locations in subsequent days. His Facebook page at one point indicated that he was in Atlanta, which was untrue, Dyer said.
His Facebook posts indicated Muhammad expressed hatred toward white people and the government, the chief said. Witnesses reported the gunman sprayed rounds while reloading and cursing. One man was reportedly shot to death at the scene near Catholic Charities.
A second gunshot victim was reported outside of the the Fresno Police Department station at Mariposa Mall and M Street at 10:51 a.m. The victim also was taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Dyer said.
Police are investigating at four separate crime scenes on Van Ness, Mildreda and Fulton, and those areas will remain closed for at least a few hours, Dyer said. At least one shooting victim remained on the scene, and officers with K-9 are searching for the murder weapon.
Two shaken catholic charity workers ducked under yellow police tape to get out. They said they were told not to talk to media that everything has to go through media relations. But one was a Vietnam veteran and said you never forget the sound of guns. He said they give away food every day. Families are only allowed to come once a week.
"We feed a lot of children so we have to make sure that the food gets spread around," the vet said. Neither saw children there this morning. But there were a lot of teens and young adults.
The second man had been working in the back and when he came out he just went around to crying people asking "are you ok?" Neither knew the shooter.
Dyer said the FBI had been notified and that the ATF would also be contacted. While Muhammad had been taken into custody, Dyer said a gun had not been recovered, though the suspect had .357 caliber ammunition on him. Dyer said it was the same type of ammunition used in the murder at the Motel 6. Muhammad will be booked for murder and attempted murder, authorities said. Dyer indicated it was "still too early" to know if the shootings were an act of terrorism.