Three people were shot and killed in three separate locations in Fresno, California Tuesday as part of a seemingly random shooting spree, local police said. Police named the suspect as Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, and said he was already wanted in the murder of a security guard and the attempted murder of another at a Motel 6 Thursday.
Muhammad, who is black, shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he was taken into custody, said police. The Arabic phrase means "God is Great." He also posted on his Facebook page about not liking “white people" and showcased "anti-government sentiments," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
All of his victims were white men. A total of 16 shots were fired at four different locations in a less than one-minute timespan.
This is the suspect in today's downtown Fresno shooting, Kori Muhammad, charged with 4 counts of murder, 2 counts attempted murder, PD says. pic.twitter.com/vjgdbff7nF
— Joey Horta (@JoeyHorta) April 18, 2017
“This was a random act of violence,” Dyer said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “These were unprovoked attacks by a suspect who was intent on carrying out homicides.”
Muhammad, who faces four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, was a “very violent individual in our city,” Dyer said.
Dyer added that it was "too early to say" whether the incident involved terrorism, noting that no statement was made when he shot and killed the security guard. The unarmed security guard was identified as 25-year-old Carl Williams. He died at a local hospital.
Agents from Homeland Security were seen outside of Fresno police headquarters Tuesday afternoon. Based on police officers' contact with Muhammad and his Facebook posts, Dyer said Fresno police had contacted the FBI. "I’m certain that they’re going to be very interested in this case," he said, adding that Muhammad's criminal history included "terrorist threats."
Homeland Security just showed up at crime scene outside Fresno police headquarters pic.twitter.com/r3FUpDrq4y
— pablo lopez (@beecourts) April 18, 2017
Fresno police's ShotSpotter first alerted authorities to shots being fired at around 10:45 a.m. local time. It was then that Muhammad shot and killed a passenger in a Pacific Gas and Electric Company truck. The driver then sped off to the local police headquarters to report the incident.
Muhammad continued on foot and shot at and missed a local resident before encountering another, firing several rounds and killing him. Police said he then reloaded his revolver and walked to social services organization Catholic Charities, where he shot and killed another white male in the parking lot.
PG&E later said in a statement it supported the investigation. "Our thoughts are with all involved in the incident that occurred in Fresno today," it read. "Public and employee safety is always our top priority. We are still gathering information on what happened, and will work to support first responders and law enforcement in their efforts."
This story has been updated with additional information about the incident.
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