Alleged shooter Kori Ali Muhammad
Kori Ali Muhammad, accused of killing three White men in Fresno, Calif., will undergo a psych evaluation before arraignment on those and other charges in a previous shooting. The accused has a troubled past and previous concern about mental issues in court cases.
He is scheduled to return to court May 12.
Let Black people go with reparations, the 39-year-old yelled out in court on April 21, as his attorney Eric Christensen of the Public Defender s Office was asking Judge W. Kent Hamlin to delay the hearing so he could be tested. He may not be mentally competent to proceed with the case, said his lawyer, who referred to him as Kori Taylor Muhammad, per court documents. He was arrested for the April 18 shooting of three White men at random according to police, a Pacific Gas & Electric worker sitting in a truck and two men who had come out of a Catholic Charities building, said the Associated Press. He was charged April 21 with the killing of an unarmed security guard Carl Williams at a Motel 6 a week earlier. Authorities have said the Williams killing was the first of four by Mr. Taylor Muhammad.
Police have said he told them that learning he was wanted for the Williams killing spurred him to try to kill as many White people as possible before he was caught.
Pastors and church leaders from the Pastor Clusters of the Fresno/Clovis area met outside Catholic Charities in Fresno, Calif., during a prayer walk vigil for the three victims of Tuesday s shooting, on April 20. David Jackson, 58, who was one of the alleged victims of Kori Ali Muhammad, was shot and killed outside Catholic Charities. Mark Gassett, 37, had just picked up groceries at a Catholic Charities building when Muhammad allegedly shot him in the chest, and fired twice more after he fell to make sure he was dead. Photo: AP/Wide World Photo
Mr. Taylor Muhammad fired 17 rounds in less than two minutes, police said. Officers with help from acoustic sensors posted in the area arrested him less than five minutes after the rampage began. Police say he surrendered when confronted by officers.
Fresno County Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin assigned a doctor to examine Mr. Taylor Muhammad s mental state. Judge Hamlin set bail at $2.6 million. The accused is facing one count of murder and one count of attempted murder. After allegedly murdering Carl Williams, III and attempting to murder another guard, Oscar Menjivar on April 13, Mr. Taylor Muhammad allegedly went on a one minute shooting rampage, killing Mark Gassett, David Jackson and Zack Randalls, all White men. He shot at a fourth, but missed, according to police. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer has called the shootings random acts of race hatred, not terrorist attacks. His conclusions stem from posts on Mr. Taylor Muhammad s social media accounts, said officials. Based on Mr. Taylor Muhammad saying Alli Akbar, police contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigations and will be working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to locate the origin of the gun, he said. Chief Dyer said Mr. Taylor Muhammad threw the weapon away after the April 18 shooting and shortly before being arrested. Was the same weapon used in the Williams shooting? The Final Call asked Detective David Madrigal via email. There was no reply. He directed questions to the Fresno County District Attorney s Office.
More charges were expected to be filed. It could be a death penalty case, because of the number of victims, defense attorney Christensen said. After meeting for about five minutes with his client April 21, Atty. Christensen told The Final Call, the accused was relatively calm and generally polite.
Just after that brief conversation, it was clear to me that there may be some mental issues involved, said Atty. Christensen, who added he s handled mental health cases for over 30 years. In 2005, lawyers in a federal criminal case found Mr. Taylor Muhammad unfit to stand trial due to mental deficiency.
According to Gun Violence Archive, an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from over 2,000 media, law enforcement, government and commercial sources, there were 104 mass shootings in the U.S. as of April 21.
You can t look at this brother s situation, and separate it from the larger society which uses violence as a way to resolve its issues, said Davey D, a hip hop journalist, talk show host and activist.
For a long time, people have spoken about the importance of deescalation, conflict resolution, and other means to resolve touchy situations, but not anywhere else, he said.
We don t want to do it in Syria. We don t want to do it in North Korea. We don t want to do it with the police departments when they re brutalizing us. In fact, they want to ratchet things up, Davey D said.
You don t want to do that with undocumented folks. We want to put down the hammer. We want to hit hard. We pride ourselves on it. We sing songs about it. We glorify it. We romanticize it, and, so, when you have somebody who, if we follow the reports, had a hatred and acted on that hatred, we shouldn t be surprised, he told The Final Call. There are plenty of examples, from Dylan Roof, who slaughtered innocent Black churchgoers in South Carolina to the some 500 mass school shootings in the past 15 years or so, said the writer and analyst.
If this brother had shot three Black people in a fit of rage, we would have heard stories about Black-on-Black crime. Nothing really would have been done. If we said mental health challenges, we would have had society say, Well, he needs to be more responsible, Davey D added.
Alleged shooter Kori Ali Muhammad
Black sell-outs would be on TV blaming parents and preachers, but now, it s viewed a bit more differently, and people want to punish an entire community, he argued.
Automatically, the false narrative becomes Mr. Taylor Muhammad is probably one of those Nation of Islam people, and oh, what does Farrakhan say? said Davey D. The anger, chaos and confusion sweeping across America is certainly not unusual, nor to be unexpected, observed Demetric Muhammad, a student minister in the Nation of Islam in Memphis, Tenn., researcher and author.
When I first heard about the shootings, I thought here we go once again where the Nation of Islam and its teachings are dragged into a scenario of violence to hopefully connect the episode of violence to the ideas and the teachings of the Nation of Islam, Min. Demetric Muhammad stated.
There have been prior attempts. For instance, during coverage of the April 19, 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing by White Christian Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, KABC talk radio station erroneously reported that a member of the Nation of Islam took credit for the bombing, even though it cautioned that the claim might have been a crank call, recalled Terry Muhammad, coordinator for the Nation of Islam Study Group in Oklahoma City, Okla.
I was on my way to the bakery I laughed to myself, I said we don t do stuff like that, he said. Other news outlets reported, then retracted the early and false report. Micah Xavier Johnson, described as a troubled Afghanistan War veteran, allegedly killed five officers and injured nine others last July 7 in Dallas. Police said he was upset about Black Lives Matter, police shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, La. And Philando Castille in the Falcon Heights suburb of Minnesota. Police used a bomb attached to a robot to kill him.
Is he connected to Public Enemy because he had a fan picture that thousands of people have standing next to Professor Griff? They wanted to know who his daddy knew? Who his mama knew? All that sort of stuff, but we didn t have that when Dylan Roof slaughtered nine people in South Carolina, Davey D observed.
We didn t go, what music is he listening to? What did his preacher say? We didn t have any of those conversations, so there s a double standard in terms of how things are accepted and not accepted, but more importantly, I think we have a problem with society and general violence, and there s a rationale for that violence depending on where you sit.
Compare how they re reacting to him versus the White boy that came up from Baltimore and killed the older Black guy in New York City and said he was hunting. Most people couldn t even tell you his name, Davey D continued.
Twenty-eight-year-old James Harris Jackson, a Caucasian, U.S. Army vet, hated Black men since he was a kid and was bent on killing a Black man, media reported. Police said he took a bus from Washington to New York, picked at random, and March 22 fatally stabbed Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old Black man, with a sword, according to police. According to CNN Newswire, Mr. Taylor Muhammad was indicted in 2005 on charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and possession of two rifles and a semi-automatic handgun, according to federal court documents. After a psychiatric evaluation, he was found not competent to stand trial in July 2005.
His public defender at the time raised questions about whether Muhammad was mentally fit to stand trial, according to court records. He appeared eccentric with some bizarre beliefs and appeared to have hallucinations, and he had at least two mental health hospitalizations, court records show. In June 2006, Muhammad was found competent to stand trial. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 110 months in prison, which was later reduced to 92 months. ABC News reported that the accused told investigators that he hid out in a ravine and practiced voodoo rituals after the Motel 6 slayings. He also told investigators he is Muslim, but he prays to seven different gods and hasn t been to a mosque in 25 years.
Muhammad is really an honorific title in Islam. It s more than just a name. It is a title that designates someone who is commendable or who commits praiseworthy actions, Min. Demetric Muhammad said.
It is proven that the Nation of Islam has a long history of not only being a peaceful community of people, but social activism and stopping crime, he said. We re not a carnal army. We re not to carry weapons. Our Restrictive Laws of Islam say we are to be kind and do good to all. It says obey those in authority and even nonbelievers in authority over you, he said. Members of the Nation can be put out of the community for carrying weapons and are forbidden to commit acts of violence on self or others.
(Final Call staffers and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Congress needs to fund the government by April 28 or government employees will see a repeat of the 2013 shutdown. While the White House says the chances of the government actually shutting down are unlikely, we at Federal News Radio are answering some of the most pressing questions on the minds of defense workers.
Will I work if the government shuts down?
That all depends on your role in the Defense Department. The government furloughed about half of its civilian force during the 2013 shutdown, a total of about 400,000 civilians. Who works and who doesn t is all based on what positions are considered essential. If you re active-duty military, you will work.
White House ends hiring freeze, mandates workforce, mission restructuring
We can and will continue to support key military operations. We re allowed to do that by law, but the law would force us to disrupt many of our support activities, former DoD Comptroller Bob Hale said during the last shutdown. We wouldn t be able to do most training, we couldn t enter into most new contracts, routine maintenance would have to stop, we couldn t continue efforts to improve contracting and financial management including our audit improvement efforts.
For civilians it s more complicated. DoD released a 2015 contingency plan for the possibility of a shutdown. The plan lays out what positions would work if the government runs out of money. Those positions include jobs needed for the safety of human life or protection of property like civilians who operate and assess intelligence data. Other positions that won t be furloughed are those working in the medical and dental care field and those working in acquisition and logistics for essential operations. Those working in logistics at central receiving points for supplies purchased before the shutdown will stay on duty until they are no longer needed.
Education and training positions are mostly exempted from a shutdown, as are those working on legal activities for essential activities. DoD employees who work in mess halls and child care activities will report to work as will those working with the management of funds for essential services.
If you re a really good federal worker, you should welcome the reorganization plan, OMB says
There s also a wild card option: any activities funded with unobligated, unexpired balances will keep their employees on duty. That means if the account that funds your department still has money, you ll report to work. A full list of essential employee functions can be found here.
Will I get paid?
No, at least not at first. For all intents and purposes the government does not have money during a shutdown. Those who are working are providing pro bono services to the government for the well being of the nation. Don t think you can get out of it just because there is a shutdown either. Employees who refuse to work must comply or face disciplinary action. You also can t take any leave during the shutdown period. Those in the military won t be paid, unless Congress can come up with some sort of exception. In 2013, Congress passed a bill that provided money for the continued pay of the military through the shutdown. After five days of interpretation, Justice Department lawyers decided that bill extended to a majority of furloughed civilians, which brought them back to work and paid them as well.
During that time, paycheck processing pretty much stayed the same; however, there is no guarantee Congress will pass a bill to pay the military this time around. For civilians who had time furloughed, Congress eventually passed a law paying them for their work during the shutdown. If the government shuts down this time, there are no promises Congress will do the same thing.
What if I m a defense contractor?
While military members and many contractors would still go to work during a government shutdown, there are restrictions on what they would be able to do. For example, contractors would still be prohibited from doing inherently governmental work. And military members would be prohibited from performing the duties of presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed officials. Hale said things like the war in Afghanistan definitely constitute excepted activities, but that doesn t necessarily mean all military commanders have the authority to carry out their operations as normal.
These are the sort of gray area decisions that our managers and commanders are making right now as they identify excepted and non-excepted, he said. But I think most of the ships at sea would stay there. If there were some that stayed strictly in training and weren t excepted, they would be able to stand down if they had to in an orderly fashion. And we ll have to make some judgment about what that means. Obviously, you can t get the ship back immediately.
What changes might I see?
During the last shutdown DoD saw its support services take a hit. DoD held back care packages to troops in Afghanistan because of abrupt staffing cuts in the military postal system in Europe. The Pentagon curtailed seemingly-minor creature comforts such as cable TV for service members serving overseas. The Armed Forces Network took all but one of its channels off the air because of furloughs at its broadcast center in Riverside, California. The shutdown resulted in a patchwork of disrupted services that varied from installation to installation. For instance, a family child care management office might be at least partially open on one base because it s managed by a military member. At another installation, a similar office might be closed because its civilian-led workforce has not been exempted from furlough by the local commander.
There s also the matter of the Veterans Affairs Department. VA did not accept any new disability compensation claims or issue any decisions on appealed claims during the 2013 shutdown, and it cut back on the number of hours its claims processors worked. Several toll-free hotline numbers for veterans, including those designed to handle claims for education benefits shut down entirely.
While on the recruiting trail this week checking in on numerous prospects, the Florida Gators are expected to send area recruiter Tim Skipper by Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian to see five-star defensive back Tyreke Johnson on Wednesday. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound Army All-American has yet to name any formal leaders, but has talked up programs like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, UCLA, and USC in the past. He’s visited Florida, Florida Atlantic, and Miami this spring. The 247Sports Crystal Ball currently gives the Florida Gators the edge with 55% of the votes over Florida State and UCLA.
The 247Sports Composite currently ranks Johnson as the No. 17 overall player in the 2018 class and a five-star rated prospect.