By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – A suspect nicknamed Black Jesus who police say killed three white men during a racially motivated shooting spree in downtown Fresno, California, was charged on Thursday with the murder of an unarmed Motel 6 security guard days earlier.
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was also charged by Fresno County prosecutors with the attempted murder of a second security guard at the motel on April 13, five days before the shooting rampage.
A spokeswoman for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office said Muhammad would be charged in connection with the fatal gun spree after police investigators submit final reports in the case.
Police have said Muhammad was bent on killing as many white men as possible when he gunned down the three men in downtown Fresno and fired at another, who was missed by the bullets.
Although Muhammad shouted: “Allu Akhbar” as he was taken into custody, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said the case did not appear to be an act of terrorism.
“Kori Muhammad is not a terrorist, but he is a racist, and he is filled with hate, and he set out this week to kill as many people as he could,” Dyer told reporters on Wednesday.
Dyer said at the news conference that Muhammad, who went by the nickname Black Jesus, opened fire in the parking lot of a Fresno-area Motel 6 because he felt disrespected after being asked to move out. Security guard Carl Williams was slain.
On Tuesday morning, he logged onto the internet at a Starbucks coffee shop and learned that police had identified him as the assailant in that crime.
“What he told our detectives last night was that once he saw he was wanted for murder, he was not going to go down for shooting a security guard for disrespecting him, but that he was going to kill as many white males as possible,” Dyer said.
Police say Muhammad opened fire 17 times at about 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday as he walked and ran along several blocks in Fresno, killing the three men in less than four minutes.
Fresno is an agricultural hub in California’s central valley, about 170 miles (275 km) southeast of San Francisco.
Muhammad faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted of the two charges filed against him on Thursday. He was expected to make an initial court appearance as early as Friday morning.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney)