It was four-tenths of a mile and four minutes that shook Fresno.
In the time needed only to fire his gun, unload shell casings and reload, rampage shooting suspect Kori Ali Muhammad crossed paths April 18 with three men who were targets of his homicidal rage because they were white.
A widower and a father of two both lay motionless on a street near downtown Fresno while a young husband and father was dying, hurried off in a utility truck by his horrified co-worker who raced to the police department for help.
From the 300 block of Van Ness Avenue to the intersection of Fulton and Divisadero streets, Muhammad fired a .357 Magnum revolver 18 times, exacting punishment that he believed was justified before he surrendered.
Never miss a local story.
The genesis of the shootings: A dispute over paying $7 extra for a room at the Motel 6 at Blackstone and Ashlan avenues, where Muhammad is accused of shooting and killing security guard Carl Williams III on April 13.
For nearly five days after the motel shooting, he mostly hid in northwest Fresno before hiking six miles along railroad tracks to the Tower District. Behind the Starbucks on Olive Avenue, he tapped into the shop’s Wi-Fi and turned on a live stream of local news to discover Fresno police had announced he was wanted in Williams’ slaying.
The police manhunt set him off.
He had considered surrendering, but then his self-described mental illness took over and he “snapped.” He decided that if he was going to prison, it wouldn’t be for killing one security guard. Muhammad, 39, says he has schizophrenia, a mental illness that can affect the ability to think, feel and behave clearly. His arraignment for four murders is delayed pending a mental evaluation. Tests for drugs, alcohol and other substances also are pending.
Leaving the café, Muhammad started walking toward downtown, his anger simmering over centuries of injustices to African Americans.
He now had a mission: shoot as many white men as possible.
Since the shootings, The Bee has walked the route Muhammad took that morning and interviewed witnesses, friends, family members, police and Muhammad to piece together how the three victims’ activities on a rainy morning placed them in the line of fire.
In Zackary Randalls’ previous job at SS Motorsports, he could spend time in the morning with his two preschool-aged children because he didn’t have to be at work until 9 a.m.
The family’s preschool teacher, Myla Jayne, said Randalls would greet all the children with high fives and frequently doughnuts. Randalls, 34, got down on the floor and played with the children and talked with their parents.
“He would just make the time,” Jayne said. “There is something about him that all the children loved. He made moments for every child.”
In March he started a new job with Pacific Gas and Electric, which required him to start his work day earlier. On April 18, he signed his children in at 7:09 a.m. He greeted the children who were there early and made sure his son, Dutch, 4, and his 3-year-old daughter, Stella, placed their blankets in their “cubbies” before he kissed them goodbye.
Then Randalls drove to work and learned he was the only employee selected for a ride-along as a gas service representative.
At 8:39 a.m., he sent a selfie of his torso to a co-worker with a caption: “Playing GSR today.”
That text of him wearing a zipped PG&E reflective orange safety vest over a flannel shirt with a seat belt across his chest made its way to an extended group of friends. The picture captured Randalls’ good-natured spirit.
“Zack was showing a couple fellow PG&E guys he was going out in the field,” said his friend and former SS Motorsports boss, Steve Spurrier. “He was always sending funny texts and pictures; I think he was proud that he was actually outside and not in the office.”
Meanwhile, Muhammad was walking south on Van Ness Avenue, his anger reaching a boil. He saw a PG&E truck parked facing north on the east side of the street at 330 N. Van Ness Ave.
At 10:43.42 a.m., the first of four shots broke the relative quiet of the drizzly morning. The Fresno police ShotSpotter system identified two rounds fired near 307 N. Van Ness Ave. A total of four shots were fired at Randalls, who Muhammad had seen in the passenger seat of the PG&E truck.
Muhammad spared the driver because he appeared to be Hispanic.
Muhammad then ran south as the truck sped away in the opposite direction.
About 100 steps later, Muhammad turned the corner at East Mildreda Avenue, saw a man in front of a home in the 900 block and shot at him. Muhammad saw the man on the ground and thought he’d hit him. After ducking down an alley to reload, Muhammad saw the man run into his home, thought about following him inside but decided to keep running.
Emerging from the alley, he fired one shot at a car but stopped shooting when he realized two Hispanic women, Edna Lopez and Serina Carrillo, were inside.
At 10:50 a.m., the PG&E truck with Randalls inside rolled up behind the Fresno Police Department on M Street, one mile from the Van Ness shooting scene. Randalls was then taken to Community Regional Medical Center, where he died.
It wasn’t long before Randalls’ friends heard that a shooting victim had been on a PG&E ride-along. They knew right away that the victim was their friend.
The exact times Mark James Gassett left a halfway house within walking distance of Catholic Charities and arrived at the faith-based nonprofit are known only by people in those agencies who Gassett trusted to protect his privacy and dignity.
What is known: Gassett, 37, a disabled woodworker who was out of a job and trying to get back on his feet, needed food and went to Catholic Charities on the morning of April 18 to stock up.
Catholic Charities opened at 8:30 a.m. If that day was like most, a line formed and Gassett took his place. Once inside the lobby, he took a slip of paper with a number and sat on a black plastic chair against a wall. Black lettering above his head spelled out the documents required for help – proof of identification, address and income.
With his number called, Gassett moved to another plastic chair, this one in front of an intake window. Talking through a grapefruit-sized hole in the glass, he gave his name and address.
Through double doors at the back of Catholic Charities, Gassett walked outside and stood in a rainy mist to hand over his food ticket. Volunteers packed a bag for a single guy: two cans of vegetables, two cans of soup, two cans of tomato sauce, a can of peanut butter, two boxes of macaroni and cheese, 1 pound of pasta, 2 pounds of rice and a bag of cereal.
Carrying the 10-pound paper bag of food, Gassett walked north on Fulton, passing the Route 28 bus stop, crossing Nevada Avenue and walking by a two-story lavender house on the northwest corner, a bright landmark on the dreary day. It was about 10:45 a.m.
By then, Muhammad had run 86 steps from the alley and turned the corner south at Fulton and Mildreda. His gun reloaded, he took another 157 steps and encountered Gassett walking north, the bag of groceries in his arms.
Gassett, an easygoing Central High School graduate and father of two boys, Layten, 9, and Troy, 14, walked straight toward Muhammad, who was just two years older but carrying years of pent-up anger for white men and holding the revolver.
It was 10:45.17 a.m. ShotSpotter detected three shots.
The eighth bullet Muhammad fired that day pierced Gassett’s chest. Gassett crumpled to the sidewalk, the bag of groceries landing on its side nearby – not a can of soup or box of macaroni dislodged.
Leaning over a motionless Gassett, Muhammad squeezed the trigger twice more and then took off.
A security guard working at Catholic Charities got to Gassett first, taking his hand.
Maria Landby, who owns a group home across the street, peeked from her window. She had heard shots, ushered her clients inside and locked the doors.
Within minutes, doors opened along both sides of Fulton and people poured out, running to Gassett’s aid.
Landby watched as neighbors gathered. By the time they reached Gassett, she could tell “he was already dead.”
The cracks of the gunshots had barely faded as Muhammad ran south to his next destination, the bus stop outside Catholic Charities.
David Jackson and his roommate, Mark Greer, had plans that Tuesday morning: get Greer’s check from his “payee” at Catholic Charities so they could buy food for their house. Greer had been living with Jackson and his wife, who died last year.
Like most mornings, they were awake at 6 a.m. They wanted to get to the Catholic Charities office by 9 a.m. to beat an expected crowd.
They left their southwest Fresno house about 8 and walked a few blocks to the Burger King at Highway 99 and Fresno Street to get breakfast.
Greer had a sweet roll, french fries and coffee. Jackson was hungry and ordered a Whopper, french fries and a soda.
They left Burger King and picked up the Route 28 bus for the 15-minute trip to Catholic Charities.
Greer was told to return Thursday, the day his check was due.
Empty-handed, he and Jackson exited Catholic Charities and walked to the bus stop. A few minutes later, Greer heard what sounded like fireworks, but when he looked north on Fulton Street he saw a man lying on the ground with a grocery bag at his side and another man running toward him and Jackson.
Muhammad fired one round and then stopped to reload, scattering five empty shell casings and one live round on the ground.
Seconds later and a few dozen steps south on Fulton Street, Muhammad reached the bus stop. Others there had already run away.
“I knew what he was going to do,” Greer said. “The minute he turned around, I was gone and I heard him say ‘Where did this guy go?’ ”
Jackson, 58, tried talking to Muhammad. In the moments before gunfire erupted again, Jackson tried to back away and run, but he tripped over a curb. Muhammad shot him twice. He fired off four more bullets at other people but missed, two rounds hitting cars and one lodging in the Catholic Charities building. The fourth bullet has not been found.
Muhammad then ran south.
At Voorman Avenue, about 200 steps south of the bus stop, Muhammad wrapped the gun in clothing and set it down.
A Hispanic man approached, carrying a box of food. The two talked.
Muhammad believed he gave the revolver to Ogun, a powerful god of metal work who appeared to him as a Hispanic man. The unidentified man picked up the gun and ran, emptying the shell casings in the back yard of a home in the 100 block of Yosemite Street.
The gun hasn’t been found, and Fresno police are offering a $2,000 reward for its return.
About 60 steps later, at Fulton and Divisadero, Muhammad saw a police officer and gave himself up. It was 10:47.56, four minutes and 14 seconds after the shooting rampage had begun.
At the time of his arrest, Muhammad laid pendants or charms – which he believed were protections against evil – on the street.