The family of suspected Fresno shooter Kori Muhammad, who allegedly gunned down four white men in an apparent race hate killing spree, said his dislike of white people had been simmering for years following a series of ‘bad experiences’.
Muhammad’s cousin, Sharisse Kemp – who has been appointed family spokesperson – said he was called the N-word from a young age and felt, as a black man, he was discriminated against his entire life. But she said the family is ‘shocked’ by what happened and is still ‘hurting’ over the tragedy.
‘This happened yesterday so our family is still trying to process this,’ she explained ‘We want to pass our condolences to the families of the victims of this terrible tragedy, we’re still trying to make sense of it.’
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Muhammad, 39, was arrested shortly after the Tuesday morning rampage during which 16 rounds were fired in less than two minutes.
He allegedly shot and killed 34-year-old PG&E worker Zachary David Randalls, Mark James Gassett, 37, who was walking in the neighborhood, and 58-year-old David Martin Jackson outside a Catholic charity office.
During his arrest, Muhammad shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is great – but Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer said the shootings had ‘nothing to do with terrorism in spite of the statement he made’. ‘This is solely based on race,’ he said.
Muhammad later told investigators he killed Williams because he felt ‘disrespected’ by him during an altercation at the motel.
Chief Dyer said when the suspect realized he was wanted in the murder of Williams, he ‘didn’t want to go down as someone who just shot a security guard’ but wanted to shoot as many white people as possible before his arrest.
Muhammad told officers he did not like white men saying they were responsible for ‘keeping black people down’.
A series of racist and inflammatory social media posts and several rap songs branding white people ‘devils’ serves to reinforce Muhammad’s hatred of white people.
But despite this, his family claims there was ‘nothing to indicate he would act out’ with violence.
His cousin Kemp, a 33-year-old social worker who lives in Sacramento, added that the man the family know is nothing like the man being portrayed in the media.
‘The Kori we know loved the family, he was funny, always smiling, loved our family gatherings, loved to eat. He was creative and really helpful,’ she said.