Bishop Calls for Peace After Fresno Shootings

Kori Ali Muhammad

Kori Ali Muhammad

Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno is calling for peace after a shooter claiming to hate white people randomly shot and killed three people, two of whom were outside a Catholic Charities facility, in Fresno, California yesterday.

The Fresno Bee is reporting on the killings which took place yesterday by 39 year-old Kori Ali Muhammad who claimed he did it because he “hates white people.” Before being taken down by police, Muhammad opened fire on four men, hitting three and missing the fourth, all of whom were white.

Two of his victims were at a Catholic Charities facility just north of downtown Fresno. One victim, a 37 year-old man, was shot just after picking up a bag of groceries at the facility. Witnesses say Muhammad then calmly reloaded his gun at a bus stop on North Fulton Street, then took aim on a 59 year-old man in the parking lot of the same Catholic Charities building and killed him.

Muhammad’s first victim was the passenger of a PG&E van, a 34 year-old father of two preschoolers who was shot three times. The driver of the van sped to the nearest police station where the man was pronounced dead.

Muhammad then walked to the corner of Van Ness and Mildreda where he tried to shoot another bystander but missed.

His last two victims were the men killed at the Catholic Charities. Immediately after the last man was shot in the parking lot, police officers were able to apprehend him.

At the time of his arrest, he reportedly told police, “I did it. I shot them.”

This is not the first time Muhammad has killed. The self-proclaimed rapper who goes by the nickname, “Black Jesus” is wanted by police in connection with another shooting at a Motel 6 days earlier where he gunned down a security guard who was responding to a disturbance.

According to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, the acts were “unprovoked” and “solely based on race” and had nothing to do with terrorism in spite of the fact that he was heard calling out “Allahu Akbar.” Authorities are investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Teresa Dominquez, Chancellor on behalf of Bishop Armando Ochoa of the Diocese of Fresno issued a moving statement shortly after the crime.

“In less than three minutes, three lives were taken for no apparent reason beyond an incomprehensible depth of hatred carried in the heart of one man . . . Once again, our community is touched by darkness. Family, friends, neighbors and the vast multitude of good and caring people in our community must now decide, once again, how we will respond to this senseless tragedy.  . . With loving concern we pray for the deceased, their families and all who have been deeply affected by this tragic loss of life, that they may find strength, consolation and healing, as we find our place with them on the pathway to peace.

She added: “Let us seize this moment as an opportunity to live as people of light not darkness by rejecting the temptation to hate the hater and embracing the gift of grace that opens hearts to choose love which conquers all evil.”

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