ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Fresno man says he saw victim fall to ground in shooting

Laura Anthony Image
ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: Fresno man says he saw victim fall to ground in shooting
A Fresno man says he was sitting in his downtown home when he heard gunshots outside.

FRESNO, Calif. (KGO) -- Three people were killed by a gunman who opened fire in Central California Tuesday.

RELATED: Family identifies Mark Gassett as victim in Fresno shooting

Fresno's police chief held a news conference saying the shooting was racially motivated. All of the victims were white.

Police told ABC7 News the suspect knew he was wanted for the murder of a security guard Thursday and said he didn't want to go to jail for just that -- he wanted to go to jail for killing as many people as possible.

"I was sitting in the front of the house, upstairs and heard a noise and then a gunshot outside." Aaron Van Curen was in his downtown Fresno home when he heard the gunfire. "I turned around and looked out the window and saw the second and third gunshots of this guy getting shot and falling to the ground, and the guy ran off."

Van Curen told us he heard eight shots in all -- some of the same shots that Fresno's shot spotter picked up, a total of 16 fired in less than a minute.

The first victim was a 34-year-old man in a PG&E truck.

"The driver, a Hispanic male, the passenger is a white male," said Fresno Chief Jerry Dyer. "He fired what appears to be four rounds into that vehicle, striking the passenger."

RELATED: Fresno police say deadly shooting was race-related

Police say suspect Kori Ali Muhammad went on to shoot two more people, both of them white males. The last one was shot in front of Catholic Charities, before an officer tackled the shooter.

"As officer Berego was taking him into custody, he made some spontaneous statements," Dyer added. "Those statements were, "I did it. I shot them.' He identified himself as Kori Muhammad and said, 'You guys are looking for me.'"

Police had been searching for Muhammad since Thursday for the murder of a security guard, Carl Williams, at a Motel 6.

Though Muhammad shouted "Allahu Akbar" at least twice, people believe the motive wasn't terrorism, but racisim -- as exhibited in his social media rants and statements to police.

VIDEO: Police say Fresno suspect stated, 'I did it, I shot them'

"And immediately upon seeing me, he mad a spontaneous statement, 'Chief, I'm sorry,'" Dyer said.

Officials say the gunman came upon two Hispanic women and a 4-year-old girl inside, pointed the gun at them, but chose not to fire.

Muhammad has been charged in 9 criminal cases in Sacramento alone dating back to 1997.

In 2004, he was convicted of federal drug trafficking and weapon charges in Fresno.

Muhammad received a sentence of just more than 9 years after first attempting to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

RELATED: Suspect accused of killing three men in Fresno in custody

He ended up pleading not guilty.

Click here for full coverage on the Fresno shooting spree.