The man accused of killing at least three people in a Tuesday shooting spree in Fresno, California, was targeting white men, according to police cited by Reuters on Monday night.
The suspect in custody, 39 year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, also called himself “Black Jesus,” police said.
Muhammad was also wanted before Tuesday’s shooting spree in connection to a murder that happened last week at a nearby motel, where the victim was also white.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters the shooter targeted white men, citing the Muhammad’s statements to police and posts on Facebook. His social media accounts included posts encouraging “black warriors” to “mount up” and referred to white people as “white devils.” He also repeatedly posted “#LetBlackPeopleGo.”
“He does not like white people,” Dyer told reporters at a press conference.
All of the men shot were white, including another man who was shot at but not wounded.
“These were unprovoked attacks by an individual that was intent on carrying out homicides today. He did that,” Dyer said.
Though Muhammad shouted “Allahu Akbar!” when officers closed in on him and posted the phrase on social media multiple times, Fresno local imam Seyed Ali Ghazvini of the Islamic Cultural Center said Muhammad was not a member of his congregation, the Associated Press reported. Ghazvini did not recognize Muhammad, but is speaking with other faith leaders to see if anyone knew the man, Associated Press reported.
The shooting began around 10:45 a.m., Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer said. The suspect shot the passenger of a pickup truck, after which the driver of the truck “sped” to Fresno police headquarters and reported the shooting.
The second shooting was shortly after, during which the gunman fired a number of rounds at a man, killing him. The third killing occurred after the shooter reloaded his gun at a bus stop, authorities said.
Right before officers arrested him, Muhammad reportedly “dove to the ground and yelled ‘Allahu Akbar!'” which means “God is great!” in Arabic.
A crime scene is outside Fresno Police Dept headquarters on M street between Fresno and Mariposa streets pic.twitter.com/0jsVDBv118
— pablo lopez (@beecourts) April 18, 2017
Muhammad has a long criminal history that includes making threats of terrorism and weapons possession, Dyer said.
Muhammad had spent time in state prison in the past for his crimes, according to police.
Court documents also showed that Muhammad was charged in 2005 with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute. At that time he was also in possession of a hand gun and two rifles, Associated Press reported. His lawyers in 2005 claimed insanity and a psychiatrist diagnosed him with psychosis. His attorney at the time said Muhammad believed defense lawyers to be conspiring against him and was suffering with paranoia, according to the Associated Press.
According to public records reported in Associated Press, Muhammad’s real name as “Cory Taylor,” though he has other aliases and is connected to addresses in Sacramento and Fresno. However, police say that he was homeless.