In a telephone interview from jail, Fresno shooting spree suspect Kori Ali Muhammad said Wednesday that he went on his deadly rampage near downtown to draw attention to the plight of black women and children who have been kidnapped, raped, and killed by white people.
“This is bigger than me,” he told The Bee. “This is just a warning. If America does not treat black people right, it will be destroyed by God.”
In a rambling, hourlong interview in which he talked about voodoo, mental illness, world destruction and the election of President Donald Trump, Muhammad showed no remorse for the victims and no fear of a possible death penalty. “They tell black people all the time to get over it. So I say get over it. There will be no pity party.”
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Kori Ali Muhammad
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The interview came on the same day the District Attorney’s Office charged him with three counts of murder in connection with the April 18 shooting spree that left three people dead: Zackary David Randalls, 34, of Clovis; Mark James Gassett, 37, of Fresno; and David Martin Jackson, 58, of Fresno.
He also was charged with the attempted murders of Stephen Walter, Michael Flores and Mark Greer, shooting at an occupied vehicle, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Muhammad, 39, was charged last week with murder in Fresno County Superior Court in the April 13 shooting death of security guard Carl Allen Williams III at Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno. He also is accused of the attempted murder that night of security guard Oscar Menjivar. If convicted of the multiple murders, Muhammad could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not yet made that decision.
Police Chief Jerry Dyer has said the four killings were fueled by Muhammad’s hatred of white people. Muhammad is black. All of the murder victims were white. His arraignment is pending the outcome of a psychiatric evaluation that was ordered by Superior Court Judge W. Kent Hamlin last Friday after Muhammad entered the courtroom in shackles and yelled: “Let black people go!”
Hamlin suspended criminal proceedings and appointed a doctor to examine Muhammad. Hamlin then rescheduled Muhammad’s arraignment for May 12. Until then, Muhammad will remain in jail in lieu of $2.6 million bail, Hamlin said.
In Wednesday’s interview, Muhammad acknowledged he targeted white people, saying he let some Hispanic people go. But he said he is not a racist: “You won’t find anyone who will say I was disrespectful toward another human being or have oppressed them.”
On the other hand, Muhammad said, America’s history books are filled with chapters of white people buying slaves, mistreating them and lynching them. He contends white people still kidnap, rape and murder black people, “but no one cares.” Because of this mistreatment, he said, black people deserve their own land and government, and the U.S. should pay them reparations.
Muhammad also said too much fuss is given to his victims because they are white. “It would be a different story if black people had been killed,” he said.
He also said he can’t understand why people are so upset with him. “No one complained when George Washington slaughtered the British,” he said.
He blamed former President Barack Obama for America’s current troubles, saying Obama set it up for President Donald Trump to win. “Trump will take us on a rocket ship to hell,” he said. He said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would have been a better president.
He confessed to killing the four people in Fresno to let Americans know that something bigger – plagues, earthquakes, hurricanes, and freak accidents – are about to happen unless they treat black people better.
But he also apologized to the Fresno community for doing the killings. In his opinion, race relations here are good compared to other places America. “Black people are not being gunned down by police or hung in trees,” he said. “It’s fairly civilized here.”
Court records say Muhammad has several aliases, including Kori McWallace, Kori Taylor, Cory Allen Taylor and Cory Allen Muhammad. Muhammad said he grew up in Fresno as Cory X. Taylor and attended Washington Union and Edison high schools before moving to Sacramento.
He said he became a Muslim and a disciple of Wallace Fard Muhammad, co-founder of the Nation of Islam. As a teenager, he said, he participated in the Nation of Islam’s Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995.
In October 2006, he was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Fresno to possession with the intent to distribute crack cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, according to court records. But during court proceedings, his federal public defender, Eric Kersten described Muhammad as paranoid and “eccentric with some bizarre beliefs.” Kersten also told the judge that Muhammad suffered from “auditory hallucinations” and had at least two prior mental health hospitalizations, and believes his counsel conspired against him, court records say.
Muhammad said the Ogun, the god of hunters, warriors and blacksmiths gave the murder weapon to him. After the killings, Muhammad said he gave it back to Ogun, who was in the body of a Hispanic man.
He was released from prison in September 2011 and placed on supervised release. He completed supervised release in September last year, court records say.
In Wednesday’s interview, Muhammad said he suffers from schizophrenia. He then gave details about his crime spree, starting with his fight with Williams at Motel 6.
Muhammad said he went to the motel with a woman on April 13 to help her heal. He said he planned to perform black magic and voodoo on her. But Williams and another security officer told them he had to pay an extra $6 fee to stay in the room.
According to Muhammad, Williams cursed him and disrespected him. “So I shot him,” he said. “It had nothing to do with his race. I’m not even sure if Williams is white. He looked Hispanic to me.”
He said he hid in Fresno until April 18, when he learned that police were looking for him. At first he said he thought about turning himself in. “Then my mental illness kicked in,” he said.
As he walked toward downtown through neighborhoods near Belmont Avenue and Fulton Street, he began thinking about how his father had mistreated him as a child. He said his thoughts turned to how white people had enslaved black people and lynched them. Then he began thinking about black women and children turning up dead in lakes and rivers, sometimes with missing body parts. “I just snapped,” he said.
The murder weapon has not been found. Muhammad said the Ogun, the god of hunters, warriors and blacksmiths, gave the weapon to him. After the killings, Muhammad said he gave it back to Ogun, who was in the body of a Hispanic man. Fresno police have offered a $2,000 reward for the gun.
Muhammad said he doesn’t know if he will plead guilty to the charges.
“People don’t appreciate the black man,” he said. “We built pyramids and trade routes and made great nations. We are the first to walk the Earth and we will be the last to walk it.”