Three people in downtown Fresno are dead in an apparent murder spree Tuesday morning.
The suspect is 39-year old Kori Ali Muhammad. He was already wanted for the murder of a security guard at a Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno last week.
Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Muhammad allegedly shot and killed a PG&E worker in his company truck near Van Ness north of Divisadero. A co-worker driving the vehicle was not shot and rushed the victim to the police headquarters where he died.
The suspect then shot at a second individual but missed, before killing 2 more men near the Catholic Charities office on Fulton Street. The final two victims are believed to be clients of the charity.
In all, the suspect fired 16 shots and paused to reload at least once. The names of the victims have not yet been released.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the city’s gunshot detection system immediately notified them of the shootings and an officer found Muhammad running down Fulton Street.
“Immediately upon that individual seeing the officer, he literally dove onto the ground and was taken into custody. And when he was taken into custody, he yelled out ‘Allah Akbar’,” Dyer said.
Dyer said the three victims were apparently chosen at random but adds it is too soon to know if this case is connected to terrorism.
“Too early to say whether or not this involves terrorism. Given the statement that was made it would certainly could give that indication. However, there was no statement made on Thursday night when he shot a security guard and killed him. Not certain why he said what he said today but I am sure during the course of the interview we will be able to determine why,” Dyer said.
However, Dyer said Muhammad’s Facebook contains numerous anti-government posts and claims of hating white people. At least two of the victims were white.
As a result of the arrests and the Facebook posts, the FBI and Homeland Security are involved in the investigation.
Muhammad was not armed when he was arrested. Police are looking for the murder weapon although the shell casings found at the scene match the caliber of the gun used in the Thursday shooting.
Muhammad is likely facing four murder charges and two charges of attempted murder.
PG&E released a statement saying ‘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’.
Two of the victims were shot near Catholic Charities. Diocese Chancellor Teresa Dominguez says they plan to reopen as soon as possible, “because they provide an essential service to the community. But also to provide a sense of normalcy to the neighborhood. Our Catholic Charities is located in the downtown area of Fresno but it is also a residential area.”
Muhammad was a member of the Fresno-based Community Media Access Collaborative or CMAC, where he produced an occasional talk show and music videos. In a video posted online about 2 years ago, Muhammad told the interviewer he was born in Fresno, grew up in Sacramento and that he had a troubled past.
“I grew up gang banging at nine in a predominantly blood neighborhood and my hood out here in Fresno is a minority hood so I’ve never been fearful of losing my life or being outnumbered," said Muhammad.
In the video he explains his grandmother kicked him out at age 16 when he expressed interest in joining the Nation of Islam. He says he moved back to Fresno a few years ago, and that’s when he got involved with CMAC.
The group's Executive Director Jerry Lee said his actions came as a surprise.
"We’re shocked we’re appalled," Lee says. "He was fine while he was here all the time. What made him do this is, you know, it’s terrible. It’s unthinkable," said Lee.
Muhammad has two rap albums and was active on social media saying things like “Thank you Allah for the Cataclysmic natural disasters striking America” on Twitter. In the posts he threatened President Donald Trump and America saying if certain monetary demands aren’t met natural disasters would increase 88-fold.
— Kori ALI MUHAMMAD (@BGODMAC) March 23, 2017