By Artemis Moshtaghian and Darran Simon CNN
(CNN) — A black man accused of fatally shooting three white men in what police are calling a hate crime said that he “snapped” after thinking “about all the injustice and the atrocities that my people go through.”
Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, allegedly shot at the men at random in downtown Fresno, California on April 18. At the time, Muhammad was already wanted by police in the fatal shooting of Carl Williams, a 25-year-old unarmed security guard, on April 13, police said. Muhammad admitted to the shootings in a recent jailhouse interview with CNN affiliate KGPE that appears to give more insight into his state of mind and motives.
“Someone has to fight for all the people who died at the hands of racist white men,” he told the news station on Saturday.
“I was actually going to go turn myself in, and then I started thinking about the missing black women and children,” he said. “I started thinking about Flint, Michigan. I started thinking about the crack cocaine epidemic. I started thinking about all the injustice and the atrocities that my people go through. And that’s why I snapped.”
“I wasn’t thinking like … I’m going to kill, kill, kill. All I knew was white supremacy has to die and the people who benefit from white supremacy … are white men,” Muhammad said. Muhammad will now face four counts of murder — one in Williams’ death and three in the shooting rampage – and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, officials said. Muhammad’s attorney did not immediately return a request for comment.
His arraignment in Williams’ death, which was scheduled for Monday, was suspended pending a mental competency evaluation. His next court date is May 12, 2017, according to Steve Wright, assistant district attorney for Fresno County. The FBI is assisting Fresno police in the investigation.
Suspect: Someone has to fight for deaths by ‘racist white men’
Last week, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Muhammad had previously posted on social media about his dislike for white people and government officials. He also yelled “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) when he was arrested shortly after the shooting, officials said.
“We do not believe … that this is a terrorist-related crime,” Dyer told reporters then. “This is solely based on race.”
Police said Muhammad shot the three white men, firing 16 rounds in 60 to 90 seconds within a block and a half in the downtown area. Zackary Randalls, a 34-year-old worker for the Pacific Gas & Electric utility, was killed, along with Mark Gassett, 37, and David Martin Jackson, 58.
Gassett and Jackson were standing near Catholic Charities, a social services agency where they are clients, police said. Muhammad is also accused of firing at a 59-year-old white man coming out of a house, but he missed, the police chief said. Authorities said Muhammad also pointed the gun at three Hispanic females — a woman, her adult daughter and her 4-year-old granddaughter — who heard the gunshots and got into their car, which they had trouble starting.
Dyer said Muhammad approached the passenger side and pointed the gun at them but didn’t fire.
“That’s the only regret I have, because in the car was a woman and children. I am glad none of them got hit,” Muhammad said in the jailhouse interview. “I probably couldn’t live with myself if I hit the woman and child. I had no intentions of hurting women and children.”
Suspect: I shot security guard over disrespect
At the time of the shooting, police were looking for Muhammad in connection with Williams’ death outside a Fresno motel. In the interview with CBS47, Muhammad said the security guard was arguing with a friend of his and “being very disrespectful, so I shot him.”
“You shot the security guard?” Reporter Matt Mendes asked,
“Yes, sir,” Muhammad said. He also said he hid from police on the roof of a 7-11.
“I scaled the wall, got on top of the roof, stayed there until I felt it was safe enough to get down,” Muhammad said, according to the station.
Days later, Muhammad said he discovered he was wanted by police, who had circulated his photo and asked for the public’s help in apprehending him. His previous run-ins with the law include a 2005 indictment on charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute, and possession of two rifles and a semi-automatic handgun, court records show. Muhammad’s public defender had raised questions about whether he was mentally fit to stand trial, noting that on several occasions he had “appeared eccentric with some bizarre beliefs” and appeared to have hallucinations. The lawyer also said his client had “at least two prior mental health hospitalizations.”
A psychiatric evaluation later found Muhammad suffered from psychosis and a substantial degree of paranoia. He was declared not competent to stand trial in July 2005.
He was later found competent for trial in 2006 after a previous order had committed him to a facility. Muhammad pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 110 months in prison, which was reduced to 92 months. TM & 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
Photo Credit Richard Drew/Associated Press
3. The new era at Fox News begins tonight.
Photo Credit Arkansas Department of Correction, via Associated Press
4. Arkansas executed two convicted murderers after a flurry of failed, last-ditch appeals, as the state attempts to carry out a series of capital punishments before one of its lethal injection drugs expires.
Jack Jones, left, and Marcel Williams, right, died from three-drug injections, administered in the same chamber.
People don t realize that you never get over it, unless you re just cold and calculated, said a prison chaplain who witnessed 95. I ll never forget it.
Photo Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times
Photo Credit Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst
The defense minister and army chief of staff stepped down because of widespread anger over Friday s attack on an army base.
The government lost 160 soldiers, making it the deadliest Taliban attack of the long Afghan war. The U.S. is weighing whether to send thousands more American troops.
Photo Credit Danish Siddiqui/Reuters
Photo Credit NASA
She got a congratulatory call from President Trump, who added perhaps jokingly that he would like to send an American to Mars.
It took me a lot longer to become an astronaut than I ever really wanted it to take, the 57-year-old biochemist told Mr. Trump. But I do think I m better at my job because of the journey.
Photo Credit Gordon Welters for The New York Times
9. Is this the world s coolest kindergarten?
They re quite good at screaming, one mom said.
Photo Credit Gerald Herbert/Associated Press
Because of security threats, they worked under police guard, wearing flak jackets and scarves to conceal their identities. Three more monuments are scheduled for removal.
Photo Credit Caitlin Fares for The New York Times
11. Finally, a cactus in bloom is pure poetry, a startling juxtaposition in Technicolor.
The most fitting line might be this famous one, from Walt Whitman: Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself.
Have a great night.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
And don t miss Your Morning Briefing, posted weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern, and Your Weekend Briefing, posted at 6 a.m. Sundays.
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A team member of a private security team aboard the MV Avocet points his weapon at an incoming pirate skiff in the Arabian Sea, likely sometime in 2011.
We have come a long way since the height of Somali piracy when highly organized pirate gangs roamed the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean in search of merchant ships to hijack for multi-million dollar ransoms. During the most active years, from 2008 to 2012, armed pirates were attacking hundreds of ships per year, successfully pirating more than 130 vessels and taking their crews hostage some of whom were held captive for years in the most abominable conditions imaginable. Fortunately, a combination of international naval presence in the region and private armed security teams contracted by the ship owners was successful in suppressing the scourge of piracy in Horn of Africa region. And while a spate of recent incidents bearing the characteristics of Somali piracy during its peak have been a cause for alarm, Somali piracy is far from the point it was at over a half-decade ago. So when a video posted last week by a supposedly pro-seafarer page showing a shipboard security team opening fire on an incoming pirate skiff went viral, we thought it was necessary to provide some context and/or details since absolutely none was given.
The video in question is titled Somali Pirates VS Ship s Private Security Guards and since it was posted last Thursday it has racked up over 12 million views, easily reaching YouTube s top trending list. It has also prompted some publishers to re-post as if this just happened. The problem is, the video is now more five years old.
The video in question was originally posted online by an unidentified source in April 2012. Details of the video were not immediately clear in the original posting on LiveLeak, but in May 2012 Bloomberg was able to track down the video s origin and shed some light on the incident after it sparked a debate about the guards use of of force, which many at the time called excessive. Here s the video in question:
According to the Bloomberg report, the video first appeared at a shipping conference in December 2011 and was filmed by a team member from the Norfolk, Virginia-based private security firm Trident Group while operating aboard the MV Avocet, a 53,462 dwt bulk carrier owned by New York-based Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc. In the Bloomberg article, Thomas Rothrauff, president of Trident Group, defended the team s actions, saying their operating procedures were legal and in full compliance with rules for use of force. In the report, Rothrauff even noted that at least some of the boat s occupants were probably killed or injured, although there is no way to know for sure. We re not in the business of counting injuries, Rothrauff told Bloomberg at the time.
Rothrauff added that the attack shown in the video was the second in 72-hours launched by pirates operating from a nearby mothership, and also said that the pirates in the video were returning fire, although it is somewhat hard to tell from the video. The report also noted that all of Trident Group s operations are shot on video, and the video is technically owned by the hiring company, which in this case is Eagle Bulk Shipping Inc.
So why the re-post now?
For one, Somali piracy is back in the news after years of calm. In March, Somali pirates were able to hijack their first commercial ship since 2012 the oil tanker Aris 13. The vessel was released a few days later following a clash with local maritime forces and no ransom was paid. Since then, there have been a handful of other incidents that have added to the concern, but nothing compared to what we were seeing during the height of piracy. The good news, currently Somali pirates have no commercial vessels or hostages under their control. So, to the re-uploaders of this video, we say shame on you. While you may claim to be a group highlighting the lives of all those connected to the high seas. In our opinion, all you are doing is creating confusion by regurgitating old content, which you do not own, without context or details, and all for the sole reason of generating views and income. If you really cared about the seafaring community, you would donate 100% of the proceeds from video to any one of the number of charities helping seafarers and former hostages who are still struggling with the lasting effects of piracy on the high seas.
- ^ attacking hundreds of ships per year (eunavfor.eu)
- ^ held captive for years (gcaptain.com)
- ^ posting on LiveLeak (www.liveleak.com)
- ^ the video s origin (www.bloomberg.com)
- ^ Somali piracy is back in the news (gcaptain.com)
- ^ Somali pirates were able to hijack their first commercial ship since 2012 (gcaptain.com)