FRESNO, Calif. — A Fresno man who uses the nickname “Black Jesus” went on a shooting spree on Tuesday, killing three, and shouting “Allah is the greatest” as he was apprehended by police.
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, randomly gunned down a man walking along Fulton Street, and then murdered another standing outside of the city’s Catholic Charities facility, minutes after killing a man riding in a Pacific Gas and Electric truck. He also tried to shoot a fourth man during his rampage, but missed his target.
Within one minute, 16 rounds were fired.
Police had just advised hours earlier that they had identified Muhammad as the suspect in the killing of an unarmed security guard at Motel 6 last week.
He now faces four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
“What we know is that this was a random act of violence,” Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters. “There is every reason to believe he acted alone.”
The chief has also concluded that the murders were a hate crime aimed at whites rather than an act of terror on behalf of Islam, despite Muhammad’s declaration of “Allahu akbar” while being taken into custody. He noted that Muhammad had expressed a dislike for white people on his Facebook page and was also critical of the government.
“Let black people go or the doom increases. Reparations and separation now,” Muhammad posted over the weekend.
“We do not believe based on the information we have today that this is a terrorist-related crime,” Dyer said. “Based on the information that we have been provided, and our investigation has shown, that this is solely based on race. It has nothing to do with terrorism, in spite of the statements he made.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, which interviewed Muhammad’s grandmother, Glenestene Taylor, Muhammad’s real name is Kori Taylor. She saw him on Sunday and thought he was behaving out of the ordinary.
“These individuals that were chosen today did not anything to deserve what they got,” Dyer said. “These were unprovoked attacks.”
Pacific Gas and Electric released a statement lamenting that one of their team members had been killed.
“Our hearts are very heavy today, as we have lost a member of our PG&E family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our employee, and all those impacted by this tragic event,” it said.
Fresno Mayor Lee Brand also extended his condolences to those affected by the violence.
“This is a sad day for us all. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,” he said. “None of us can imagine what they must be going through.”