The man Fresno, California police say killed three people in a shooting spree Tuesday railed against “white devils” online and talked about “destroying the white man’s world.”
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was arrested by police outside Catholic Charities in central Fresno. Muhammad’s alleged victims were white men, including a fourth person who shot but is expected to survive. Last week, police say Muhammad was responsible for killing a security guard at a local motel.
Muhammad reportedly yelled out “Allahu Akbar” when he was tackled by police on Tuesday, but Police Chief Jerry Dyer said it was “too early to say” if Muhammad’s bloodshed was motivated by terrorism.
“Certainly by the statement that was made it would give that indication,” Dyer told reporters. “I’m not certain why he said what he said today.”
Muhammad does not appear to be Muslim, according to his Facebook page, but rather an adherent of a fringe religious movement called the Moorish Science Temple. (Baton Rogue cop-killer Gavin Long was also an adherent.)
Dyer said Muhammad fired 16 shots within a one-minute span from a .357 revolver outfitted with speed loaders. (The shots were detected by sensors that instantly alerted authorities to four different locations, he said.)
“We have not located that firearm at this point,” Dyer said, noting that ATF and FBI agents were working with local authorities to track it down and run a check on its history.
“Kori Muhammed walked up and fired into a PG&E truck” at around 10:45 a.m., Dyer said. The shots struck a passenger in the truck. The driver sped away to police headquarters where he told cops what happened.
Muhammad then walked westbound toward Mildreda Street, according to Dyer, and “encountered a resident in the area” before he “fired a number of rounds at that individual, but fortunately missed.”
The gunman then paced towards Fulton Street where he fatally “fired several rounds” at “another white male.”
Muhammad then “dropped the shell casings” and “reloaded with more ammunition” at a nearby bus stop, Dyer said. Muhammad then made his way to Catholic Charities on North Fulton Street and when he spotted another white male in the parking lot. Dyer said Muhammad “fired rounds at that individual, striking him; and that individual is deceased.”
One policeman who arrived at scene positively identified Muhammad as the same man wanted for an April 13 murder at a local Motel 6, Dyer said. Muhammad also allegedly pulled a .357 caliber gun on two unarmed security guards, fatally shooting one of them multiple times. That victim Carl Williams died at the scene, according to The Fresno Bee. The other guard gave chase and was not shot. (Muhammad’s weapon was tossed, Dyer said.)
Dyer said Muhammad will likely be charged with four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder between the two incidents. (The victims have not been publicly identified.)
Police researched Muhammad’s Facebook account and found “he has some posts that says that he does not like white people,” Dyer said, adding he also “expressed some anti-government sentiments.”
In one video, Muhammad looks into the camera and sings:
“You may not want to destroy the white man’s world, but we still do.”
On a series of homemade videos published on YouTube as recently as last month, Muhammad rapped about fighting white people.
“Police on my line cuz I bring that heat,” he sang in one video.“I’m a black power rebel, fuck a white devil.“Time to unite take flight on these devils.“Their time is up time to take to another level.”
In another track titled “I Can See,” Muhammad wears camouflage and makes a gun with his hand, points to the camera, and says, “Mess around and I’ll spray ya.”
Muhammad made multiple statements on Facebook indicating his adherence to the Moorish Science Temple of America. It’s believers share few beliefs in common with mainstream Muslims—in fact, the holy text of the Moorish Science Temple is a re-worked “Koran” where black nationalist Marcus Garvey appears as one of Islam’s prophets.
In many selfies, Muhammad refers to the “lost found Asiatic black nation.” It is an apparent reference to the Moorish Temple’s teachings where black people are part of a great Moorish, Asiatic race. Moorish Temple teachings tried to re-cast blacks in an Asiatic light in an effort to alleviate white racism.
In some Facebook photos, Muhammad shows Wallace Fard Muhammad, a co-founder of the Nation of Islam. Fard Muhammad is “destroying these grafted white devil skunks,” according to Muhammad’s overlaid text. Muhammad also refers to Fard Muhammad as the “Mahdi” or Islamic Messiah.
Muhammad was previously known as Cory Taylor, according to public records and his own social media.
“For the record in 1994 while in high school my biology teacher confirmed that white people are grafted from Black People and that by the law of genetics white people only have recessive genes and cannot produce no other color, confirming my question about the origin of the white race taught by The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” Muhammad wrote in a rambling 2015 Facebook post. “[M]y history teacher was very supportive of my decision to join the Nation of Islam and also pushed for my high school diploma to read Cory X Taylor.”
Chief Dyer said Muhammad’s prior criminal history includes making terrorist threats, weapons violations, drugs, and false imprisonment. Muhammad may have ties to gangs, Dyer added, though he was recently homeless.
“At one [Muhammad] point had posted on his Facebook that he was actually in Atlanta,” Dyer said. “We found out that to not be true.”