April 23rd, 2017

Fresno killings suspect shouts out during 1st court hearing


By Scott Smith, The Associated Press on April 21, 2017.

FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2008 file photo, engineer Stephan Noetzel alerts a police officer to gunshots using ShotSpotter, strategically placed acoustic sensors designed to help police track gunfire in East Palo Alto, Calif. A gunman on the loose in downtown Fresno was intent on killing as many white people as he could, taking down three people in just a few minutes Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Police Chief Jerry Dyer credits the technology that detects the sound of gunshots with allowing police to apprehend the gunman Kori Ali Muhammad just 4 minutes after his shooting rampage began, limiting the carnage to four people in all. (AP Photo/Mathew Sumner, File)

FRESNO, Calif. – The suspect in this week’s racially motivated shooting rampage in Fresno shouted Friday that natural disasters will increasingly hit the United States as he was ushered into a cramped courtroom for his first appearance before a judge.

Kori Ali Muhammad, 39, was supposed to be officially informed about the first-degree murder charge he is accused of in the shooting death of an unarmed security guard.

Authorities have said he then killed three more people in the rampage, targeting white victims, before he was caught.

But the reading of the charge never happened because Muhammad had another outburst, yelling “Let black people go” and a phrase similar to “in reparations” that was not clearly enunciated.

His court appointed lawyer, Eric Christensen, then told the judge: “I believe this gentleman may not be mentally competent to proceed.”

Muhammad yelled again and the judge cancelled the proceedings, setting bail at $2.6 million and ordering a mental evaluation for Muhammad.

Police have said Muhammad told them that learning he was wanted for the Williams’ killing prompted him to try to kill as many white people as possible before he was caught.

He shot three other white men at random Tuesday, police said, including a Pacific Gas & Electric utility worker sitting in a truck and two men who had come out of a Catholic Charities building.

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.

Muhammad said Williams showed him disrespect while Muhammad was visiting a woman at the motel, according to police.

Prosecutors said they are waiting for investigators to finish compiling their case before filing charges related the other three victims.

Christensen after the court hearing declined comment about his client or the authorities’ case.


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