A man shot and killed three people on the streets of downtown Fresno on Tuesday, shouting ‘God is great’ in Arabic during at least one of the slayings and later telling police that he hates white people, authorities said.
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was arrested shortly after the rampage. His victims were all white males apparently chosen at random.
He is also wanted in connection with another killing days earlier, in which a security guard was gunned down at a Fresno motel after responding to a disturbance.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the victims were shot seconds apart around 10:45am in close proximity in areas around downtown.
Muhammad, who was born Cory Taylor, is a self-proclaimed rapper who goes by the nickname of ‘Black Jesus’. He also goes by the name of B-God Mac Sun, and sells his 12-track album ‘True Story Kori’ on Amazon.
After being taken into custody, Dyer said Muhammad also made other statements to police, but he did not disclose them to the public.
The spree shooter has a length criminal record, including a dismissed felony charge of unlawful firearm possession in 2004.
Muhammad is active on Facebook and Twitter and previously expressed his dislike of white people and anti-government sentiments in social media posts.
His father, Vincent Taylor, told the LA Times on Tuesday that his son believed there was a race was going on in America that he was in the midst of, and ‘a battle was about to take place’.
‘I’m happy he was arrested,’ Taylor said. ‘I would hope that whatever Kori tells [police,] they take him seriously and they start following up.’
Police say Muhammad first approached a PG&E truck on the 300 block of North Van Ness street and shot the passenger inside repeatedly.
The driver of the truck took the injured rider directly to the police station at M Street and Mariposa mall – but the passenger was later pronounced dead.
He continued down Fulton Street, shooting and killing a pedestrian there, then witnesses say he calmly reloaded at a nearby bus stop.
Muhammad killed the last victim of his rampage in the parking lot of the Catholic Charities building on the 100 block of North Fulton Street.
Though the shooting happened outside a Catholic Charities building, spokeswoman Teresa Dominguez said the charity doesn’t believe the suspect was tied to the nonprofit organization or specifically targeting those of a Christian faith.
Muhammad was identified as a suspect in the murder of security guard Carl Williams at the Motel 6 in Fresno on Sunday after surveillance footage captured the killing on tape.
Williams, 25, was unarmed and was killed after allegedly getting into an altercation with Muhammad.
Witnesses on Tuesday say he shot off sixteen rounds while screaming and cursing, and was carrying a large-caliber revolver, according to the Fresno Bee.
The ‘rapper’ uploaded one music video titled ‘U Gone Need Me: Tru Story Kori’ in which he discusses racism and ‘liberation of his people’.
He says: ‘…on a mission for the liberation of my people.’
‘Hollow points make a white devil body spin … Kill a racist devil dead, cut off they head, put a bullet in they head, and get that bread.’
Officers on the scene found rounds of 357 caliber bullets, and a speed loader for a revolver, but did not recover a murder weapon when they apprehended Muhammad.
Sayed Ali Ghazvini, imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, said Muhammad was not a member of his congregation and he did not recognize him.
The imam said he is consulting with other faith leaders.
‘We are very sorry for this to happen. We offer condolences for the victims, we pray for the victims and their families.’
Following the shooting, Fresno city spokesman Mark Standriff said county offices were placed on lockdown, and people were urged to shelter in place.
Officials say it’s too early to determine if the shooting were an act of terrorism, but they do not believe Muhammad had any accomplices.
‘What we know is that this was a random act of violence,’ Dyer said.
‘There is every reason to believe he acted alone.’