Three dead as man goes on killing spree in California city

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Three dead as man goes on killing spree in California city

Los Angeles (AFP) – A 39-year-old man went on a shooting spree in the central California city of Fresno on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring another before being arrested, authorities said.

The suspect, an African-American named Kori Ali Muhammad, is believed to have shot a security guard last week outside a motel in the city. The guard died in a hospital.

Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer told reporters that Muhammad, who used the alias “Black Jesus,” shouted “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic — as he was being taken into custody.

He added that Muhammad had also indicated in postings on his Facebook page that he hated white people and the government.

“This was a random act of violence,” Dyer said. “These were unprovoked attacks by an individual who was intent on carrying out homicides today.” 

He added that there was every reason to believe Muhammad had acted alone but a probe was underway to determine if he had any terror links.

– Shootings unprovoked –

Lieutenant Mark Hudson, a police spokesman, told AFP the FBI had been contacted about the killings.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined comment, referring media inquiries to local police.

Dyer said Tuesday’s victims were white males — as was the security guard — and one was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a truck.

He said the shootings, which took place at around 10:45 am at four different locations in the downtown area of the city, were unprovoked and that up to 16 rounds were fired during the minute-long rampage.

Dyer said Muhammad had a criminal history including for weapons violations, drugs and making terrorist threats.

He said he was known to be homeless at times and had associated with gangs.

Muhammad faces four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, authorities said.

Hudson said the weapon used in the killings had not been recovered.

He said Muhammad would make his first court appearance within 48 hours.

The rampage is likely to reignite a long-running debate in the US on gun control, an issue that has dogged successive administrations.

More than 30,000 people are killed by gun violence in the United States every year, half of them between the ages of 18 and 35, according to statistics.

So far this year, there have been 17,668 incidents involving guns nationwide and 4,399 fatalities, Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group, said on its website.

It said the victims include 183 children up to 11 years old and 910 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17.

President Donald Trump has yet to spell out his policy on gun control but with Republicans in control of the White House and Congress, there are fears his administration will ease restrictions.

So far this year, there have been 17,668 incidents involving guns across the United States and 4,399 fatalities, Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group, says on its website
Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File SCOTT OLSON

 

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