Published time: 20 Apr, 2017 04:14
Kori Muhammad, a black man charged in the shooting murders of three white men in Fresno, California, will also face hate crime enhancements, according to police. Terrorism has been ruled out, an initial suspicion as the suspect shouted, “Allahu akbar.”
Muhammad, 39, not only faces three murder charges for a shooting spree on Tuesday in downtown Fresno, but also faces another murder charge for the fatal shooting last Thursday of Carl Williams, a Motel 6 security guard, whom Muhammad said “disrespected” him.
Hate crime enhancements will be applied to the three Tuesday murders, as Muhammad targeted his victims for their race and gender, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters Wednesday.
Dyer said Muhammad told investigators he hid on a rooftop after Thursday's murder and watched investigators enter and leave the Motel 6. From Friday to Sunday, Muhammad hid out in a ravine, where he practiced voodoo rituals. On Sunday, he cut off his braids and burned them in a remote area further west, police said, and continued to hide out until Tuesday.
Muhammad then went to a store to buy crystals for more voodoo rituals, but the business was closed, so he instead went into a Starbucks, where he connected to Wi-Fi and read online news reports that he was suspected for the Motel 6 shooting.
That's when Muhammad decided he wanted to “kill as many white males as possible” before being arrested, Dyer said.
The three men shot and killed Tuesday were 34-year-old Zackary Randalls, 37-year-old Mark Gassett and 58-year-old David Jackson.
Dyer said Muhammad was asked why he gave up to police after a brief chase on foot. Muhammad replied that he respected Fresno police officers and did not want to force them to shoot him or put them in the spotlight. Muhammad added that he was not a coward, which differentiated him from a terrorist.
Dyer also told reporters that Muhammad was permitted to call his mother, whom he told he had magic powers and started laughing.
“Kori is not a terrorist, but he is a racist,” Dyer said, adding that Muhammad showed no remorse, except for seeming to express regret for giving the police extra work to complete. “Sorry, chief,” Dyer reported Muhammad as saying.
Dyer confirmed 17 total shots fired, with a live round left in Muhammad’s .357 Magnum, a revolver handgun. Muhammad is a convicted felon on previous drug charges and will be charged with illegal possession of a firearm, as California law requires. Police do not know where he got the gun.