April 18 (UPI) — Three people were shot dead Tuesday after a man who reportedly shouted “God is great!” in Arabic went on a rampage in downtown Fresno, Calif., authorities said.
Police say the suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, randomly began shooting at four white men — striking and killing three — before he was captured.
“This was a random act of violence,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. “These were unprovoked attacks by an individual who was intent on carrying out homicides today.”
While the gunman yelled “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic — Dyer said police don’t believe it was an act of terrorism.
They are investigating whether Muhammad’s actions amounted to a hate crimes. His Facebook posts indicated that “he does not like white people, and he has anti-government sentiments,” Dyer said, and on social media Muhammad referred to white people as “devils.”
Muhammad faces at least four counts of murder. Dyer said he is also suspected in the shooting death of a security guard at a Fresno Motel 6 last Thursday.
Officials said at least 16 bullets were fired by the gunman Tuesday, in less than a minute, at four locations. Two of those killed were shot near a Catholic Charities social services facility, where they may have been clients. The third victim, an employee of Pacific Gas & Electric, was shot in his pickup truck.
The FBI and agents of the San Francisco division of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives joined the investigation.
Fresno is located 170 miles southeast of San Francisco.