Kori Ali Muhammad, the suspect who allegedly killed four people in Fresno last week, was charged with eight felony counts Wednesday including three counts of first-degree murder. Today the judge suspended his trial while he undergoes a mental examination to determine whether he is competent.
Muhammad’s murder spree began with the killing of an unarmed motel security guard. He then fled and hid out in a ravine. But when he discovered that he was wanted for the murder of the guard he decided to try and kill as many white people as possible before being caught. From CBS News:
Police say Muhammad, 39, laughed as he explained in police interviews how he shot men sitting in a utility truck, carrying a bag of groceries and waiting for a bus in the same neighborhood on April 18.
Muhammad is accused of walking up to a Pacific Gas & Electric truck and firing into the passenger seat. Randalls, 34, had just started work as a customer-service representative and was doing a ride-along, something he was excited about, friends said.
Mark Gassett, 37, was shot next, just after he had picked up groceries at a Catholic Charities building. The gunman pumped two more rounds into Gassett as he lay on the ground.
Next, Muhammad shot toward a bus stop after spotting three white men, police said. They scattered, and authorities said Muhammad picked the one who was older and appeared heavier: David Jackson, 58.
When this story broke last week there were reports that Muhammad said “Allahu akbar” when he was arrested. However, police quickly determined there was no apparent connection to terrorism. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, “This is solely based on race.” In addition to Muhammad’s admission that he targeted white people, there is also the record of his social media accounts. From Heavy.com:
Last July, he posted about the Baton Rouge police shootings, writing, “They shot Our Brother from a 100 yards through a structure. Guess you didn’t have a robot. #ENJOYPARADISEGOD.” He also posted a photo of a man smiling with the caption, “My face when grafted white devils die.” (The post also includes a racial slur to some blacks.)
He also shared a post that labeled the killer of five Dallas police officers a “hero,” writing, “HE LOVED US ENOUGH TO KILL AND DIE FOR US. WE HONOR HIM #LETBLACKPEOPLEGO.” The Dallas police shooter, Micah Xavier Johnson was motivated by Black Lives Matter and police shootings.
According to the Daily Beast, Muhammad may have been an adherent of the same fringe religious group that the Baton Rouge shooter belonged to, while there are also indications he was familiar with the Nation of Islam. Muhammad has a long criminal record starting when he was a young teenager. He was released from a stint in prison in 2016.
There was an idea circulating over the last couple years among Black Lives Matter supporters that whenever a white person goes on a shooting spree he is judged insane rather than a terrorist. But it seems in this case Muhammad may get the same treatment. His lawyer has suggested his client is mentally incompetent and now the judge is having him examined.
Sometimes crazy people do crazy things and that may indeed be the case here. But it’s worth noting that Muhammad’s lack of balance has a very specific character, one which lines up with some of the fringe, and not-so-fringe, politics on the left.