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Fresno, California gunman targeting whites chose 3 men at random

By Scott Smith

Associated Press

FRESNO, Calif. — Three men were having a seemingly ordinary day in downtown Fresno, California, before they were singled out at random and killed by a black gunman targeting white victims, police said.

The men happened to be on the same block, but had no known connection to each other or to the shooter, Kori Ali Muhammad, who told police he wanted to kill as many white people as he could before he was captured.

One victim, a 34-year-old father of two preschoolers, was on the job when he was shot Tuesday in the passenger seat of a Pacific Gas & Electric utility truck. The driver wasn’t hit and sped toward the police department, but his partner couldn’t be saved.

Another victim, a 37-year-old man, had just picked up a bag of groceries Tuesday at a Catholic Charities building when he was gunned down.

Stephen Hughes, 66, said he and his wife rushed home Tuesday after receiving a frantic call from a neighbor to find a body draped in a blanket on the sidewalk leading to his front door.

“It looks like a guy carrying his groceries home from the store,” Hughes said.

The third victim, a 59-year-old man, was gunned down in the parking of the Catholic Charities building.

“These were unprovoked attacks,” Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer said.

Two Latina women and a child crossed paths with Muhammad but were luckier. Muhammad pointed the gun at them as they sat in their car trying to flee, but didn’t shoot.

Muhammad, 39, is in custody and is expected to be charged with four counts of murder — for Tuesday’s three victims and 25-year-old Motel 6 security guard, Carl Williams, another white man who Muhammad shot last week. He also faces at least two additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Police had been looking for Muhammad in the Williams killing, and Muhammad said seeing his own name and picture in a press release Tuesday morning helped spur the rampage.

Muhammad had shorn off the braids featured in his wanted pictures and YouTube videos, fired 16 rounds in less than two minutes at four places within a block.

“I did it. I shot them,” Muhammad told officers as they arrested him, according to the chief.

During the arrest, Muhammad shouted “Allahu Akbar,” but Dyer said the shootings had “nothing to do with terrorism in spite of the statement he made.”

“This is solely based on race,” Dyer said.

Police are searching for the revolver Muhammad said he tossed into a pile of clothing. The gun may have been picked up by someone else, Dyer said.