Police are calling the shooting spree a “random act of violence” but say that Muhammad called out “Ali Akbar” while being taken into custody and expressed hatred for white people on his social media accounts. All four men that Muhammad fired upon were white. Muhammad is also suspected of having fatally shot a security guard in a nearby Motel 6 last Thursday.
According to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Muhammad (image below via Fresno PD) shot two men outside of Catholic Charities, a social service agency. The third man killed in the shooting spree was a passenger in a Pacific Gas & Electric truck. Muhammad fired at a fourth man but did not hit him.
The Fresno Bee provides more details:
Dyer said the gunman walked up to a PG&E truck in the 300 block of North Van Ness Avenue about 10:45 a.m. and shot the passenger repeatedly. The driver of the pickup then sped to Fresno police headquarters on M Street. The second shooting was only a few seconds later and was at Van Ness and Mildreda Street, where the gunman shot at but missed a resident. The gunman then turned onto Fulton Street and fired several rounds at another man, striking and killing him, Dyer said. After reloading at a bus stop, the gunman then shot and killed a man in the parking lot of Catholic Charities in the 100 block of North Fulton Street, he said.
According to Dyer, officers encountered Muhammad running south on Fulton St, at which point he dove to the ground. Officers say he yelled “Ali Akbar” before being taken into custody.
Officer found speed loaders for a revolver and .357 caliber bullets, but no weapon on his person.
As for motive, Dyer said the investigation was in too early of a stage to determine whether it was an act of terrorism, the chief instead calling it a “random act of violence” and stressing that they believe he acted alone.
“What we know is that this was a random act of violence,” Dyer said. “There is every reason to believe he acted alone.”
Though Dyer maintained that the act was “random,” he said that Muhammad’s Facebook account shows that he “does not like white people, and he has anti-government sentiments.” Muhammad also tweeted “Allahu Akbar.”
Dyer said that surveillance footage from Motel 6 identified Muhammad as the suspect in the fatal shooting of a security guard on Thursday.
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