Three white men have been killed in California after a series of “random” shootings in downtown Fresno, officials say. The suspect – who expressed a hatred against white people – is also the suspect in an earlier shooting.
The incident began just before 11 a.m. PT on Tuesday when officers received a report from “ShotSpotter” that shots were being fired in downtown Fresno. Soon after, shots were fired at 3 additional scenes in the area.
According to Police Chief Jerry Dyer, the gunman first opened fire at a PG&E pickup truck, striking the white passenger inside the vehicle. The driver – a Hispanic male who was not targeted – drove the pickup truck to the Fresno Police Department, but the victim succumbed to his injuries.
Seconds after the first shooting, the suspect fired multiple shots at a local white resident but missed. He then shot and killed two other white people, including someone who was near a bus stop outside the parking lot of Catholic Charities.
A short time later, a police officer spotted the suspect, who “literally dove onto the ground” as soon as he spotted the officer, police said. While being taken into custody, the man – identified as 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad – shouted “Allahu Akbar.”
Police Chief Jerry Dyer said during a press conference later on Tuesday that Muhammad had expressed a hatred against white people as well as the government. The killings are being treated as a hate crime and the victims are believed to have been targeted “solely based on race,” Dyer explained.
The shootings are not believed to be linked to terrorism.
Just hours before the shooting, Fresno police identified Muhammad – a homeless man – as the suspect in Thursday’s fatal shooting of security guard Carl Williams at the Motel 6 in Fresno. Muhammad allegedly also tried to shoot a second security guard but was out of bullets.
As a result of Tuesday’s shootings, all Fresno County government offices and a number of businesses in the area were put on lockdown, but the lockdowns have since been lifted.
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