Three people were shot dead on the streets of a California city Tuesday by a man who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as officers threw him to the ground, according to police officials.
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, said he hated white people on social media, repeatedly posting #LetBlackPeopleGo and encouraging “black warriors” to “mount up,” authorities said.
He screamed the Arabic phrase, which means “God is great,” as he was being tackled by officers, police said.
A Monday posting on Muhammad’s Facebook page said “My kill rate increases tremendously on the other side,” CBS News reported. As of late Tuesday, his page appeared to have been removed.
The dead, three white men, appeared to have been chosen at random and did not know each other, police said.
One victim’s body was lying on the sidewalk, a spilled grocery bag at his side, and partially covered by a blanket, witnesses said.
Another victim died where he was shot, sitting in the passenger seat of a Pacific Gas & Electric truck, authorities said. The driver sped off for a police station, but it was too late.
“These individuals who were chosen today did not do anything to deserve what they got,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. "These were unprovoked attacks by an individual that was intent on carrying out homicides today. He did that."
The utility company issued a statement, saying, “Our hearts are very heavy today, as we have lost a member of our PG&E family. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of our employee, and all those impacted by this tragic event.”
Muhammad fired 16 rounds in one minute and reloaded at one point, the chief told reporters Tuesday afternoon. He opened fire at four spots within one block and was arrested at the scene, police said.
Police have asked for the FBI’s assistance. Dyer said it was too early to say if the shootings were related to terrorism.
Muhammad had also been wanted for the shooting death last week of a Motel 6 employee in Fresno.
The suspect, who is homeless, has a criminal history that includes arrests on weapons and drug charges.