Fresno shooting
A road is blocked by police tape after a multiple victim shooting incident in downtown Fresno, California, on 18 April 2017 Fresno County Sheriff/Handout via Reuters

Three people were killed on Tuesday (18 April) in downtown Fresno, California when a man went on a shooting rampage before being taken into custody by authorities, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said. The suspect, identified as 39-year-old Kori Ali Muhammad, reportedly shot at four white men, killing three.

Muhammad is also a suspect in the shooting death of a security guard outside a Motel 6 in central Fresno on Thursday (13 April), the Fresno Bee reported. The police chief said the suspect faces four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

The alleged shooter had expressed dislike of white people in multiple Facebook posts and all of the victims were white, Dyer noted. He called the shooting a "random act of violence".

Two of the victims shot on Tuesday were hit outside of Catholic Charities and may have been clients of the social service agency, Dyer said. A third victim, a Pacific Gas & Electric employee, was riding in the company truck when he was shot. According to the Fresno Bee, a fourth victim was shot at but was not injured.

According to Dyer, the gunman first walked up to the PG&E employee in the 300 block of North Van Ness Avenue around 10.45am PST (6.45pm GMT) and repeatedly shot the man. The driver of the PG&E truck drove to the police headquarters to report a passenger had been shot by the gunman.

The shooter then moved on to Van Ness and Mildreda Street, where he shot and missed a resident. Dyer said the gunman turned into Fulton Street, where he shot at a man repeatedly and killed him. The gunman then reloaded his weapon at a bus stop and fatally shot a man in the car park of Catholic Charities in the 100 block of North Fulton.

Police responding to the first shooting found Muhammad running south of Fulton, the Fresno Bee reported. The suspect reportedly "dove onto the ground" and yelled "Allahu akbar" before he was detained. Dyer told reporters that police found rounds of .357 caliber bullets and speed loaders for a revolver when Muhammad was taken into custody but they did not find a weapon.

Authorities will probe whether the shooting involved terrorism. "Too early to say whether or not this involves terrorism," Dyer said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Certainly by the statement that was made, it could give that indication. However, there was no statement made on Thursday night when he shot the security guard and killed him. There was no comments or no statements made at that time, so I am not certain why he said what he said today."

Muhammad was connected to the shooting at Motel 6 based on surveillance video, Dyer said. The police chief said the suspect's Facebook page suggested he was in Atlanta but it was untrue. Muhammad's Facebook posts indicated "he does not like white people, and he has anti-government sentiments," the chief added.

Muhammad's father, Vincent Taylor, told the Times that his son believed he was participating in an ongoing race war between whites and blacks. "I'm happy he was arrested," Taylor said. "I would hope that whatever Kori tells [police], they take him seriously and they start following up."

Dyer said that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have been notified about the shooting.