A man in the central Californian city of Fresno has killed three people and injured one before being detained by police. The suspect, Kori Ali Muhammad, has a long record of criminal activity.
Three people were shot dead and a fourth injured in Fresno, California on Tuesday before a suspect was apprehended by authorities. The suspect, identified as Kori Ali Muhammad, is also thought to be behind the shooting death of a security guard last week.
As word spread that Muhammad, an African-American, had called himself "Black Jesus" and shouted in Arabic as he went on his shooting spree, police sought to downplay allegations that the killings were racially motivated until they were able to investigate further.
"This was a random act of violence," said Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer. "These were unprovoked attacks by an individual who was intent on carrying out homicides today."
Long criminal history
Dyer said the attacks on the victims, all white men, took place at 10:45 a.m. local time at four different locations in the city's downtown area, that they had all been unprovoked and that the suspect had likely acted alone. Muhammad, he added, had a long criminal history including weapons charges and drug infractions. He was also known to be homeless.
In a Facebook account under Muhammad's name, there were several posts about "white devils" and the cryptic message "my kill rate increases tremendously on the other side."
The suspect now faces four counts of murder and two charges of attempted murder.
Later Tuesday, Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed that one of the victims was an employee who was sitting in the passenger seat of his work truck when Muhammad allegedly shot him.
More than 30,000 people are killed by gun violence in the United States every year. The Gun Violence Archive website recorded 102 shooting incidents involving at least four victims so far in 2017.
es/cmk (AP, AFP)