Police have identified the man responsible for a shooting spree that happened earlier today in downtown Fresno, California as 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad. The homeless man known as “Black Jesus” on Facebook shouted “Allahu Akbar” when police detained him for killing three white men in what authorities are treating as a hate crime.
Muhammad became a wanted man when police suspected him for the murder of an unarmed Motel 6 security guard that happened last week. Muhammad allegedly tried to shoot a second security guard but was out of bullets.
Hours after police identified Muhammad as a suspect for the murder, he went on a shooting spree in downtown Fresno, killing three. The shooting spree started at around 11 a.m. First, Muhammad opened fire on a PG&E utility pickup truck. Someone inside the pickup truck was shot, and another person tried to drive him to a hospital. But the injured man succumbed to his injuries and died.
Seconds later, Muhammad fired at several pedestrians but missed. He drove to nearby Fulton street and shot a man there, killing him. Muhammad then shot and killed a man outside the parking lot of the Catholic Charities building.
The victims were ages 34, 37, and 58. Because the victims were all white men and Muhammad had posted racially inflammatory statements on his Facebook page under the pseudonym “Black Jesus,” police are treating this as a hate crime.
Muhammad also pointed his gun at a white woman and her toddler but did not shoot them.
Fresno has a system of sensors strategically placed around the downtown area designed to alert police when shots are fired. This allowed police to respond as quickly as possible to the gunman. The police chief said without that system, even more people might have died.
When police confronted the shooter, Muhammad dove to the ground. He shouted “Allahu Akbar!” when police detained him. He allegedly told police that he hates white people.
Muhammad was already known to police for having a criminal history that included arrests for possession of and weapons, false imprisonment, and making terrorist threats. He was associated with gangs but was not a validated member. And of course, last week’s killing of the security guard brings Muhammad’s suspected kill count up to four people.
Police say it is too soon to say whether Muhammad had ties to any militant groups or causes, but have called the FBI in to help with the investigation. He had posted racially hateful and inflammatory messages on Facebook and several anti-government messages. He reportedly urged “black warriors” to “mount up” and referenced “white devils.”
Still, police so far believe Muhammad’s violent shooting spree was mostly a random act of violence they described as “solely based on race.”
In an important detail surrounding the developing case, the imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno that Muhammad was not a member of his congregation. He said that he and other faith leaders are working to identify the gunman and what potential ties he had in the community.
Therefore, although Muhammad shouted “Allahu Akbar,” it does not appear that he was a member of any militant Islamic groups and even if he identified as a Muslim, he did not appear to be a practicing one.
Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer said that after Muhammad was wanted for the arrest of the security guard he “wanted to kill more people.”
“These individuals who were chosen today did not do anything to deserve what they got. These were unprovoked attacks by an individual that was intent on carrying out homicides today. He did that.”
The fact that Kori Al Muhammad, who went by the nickname of “Black Jesus” on Facebook and had a history of posting anti-white messages, shot and killed three white men before shouting “Allahu Akbar” after being detained by police has shocked the Fresno community.
[Featured Image by Fresno Police Department/AP Images]