Pastors and church leaders gather for a final prayer following a prayer walk for the victims of Tuesday's triple-homicide near downtown Fresno, Calif., on Thursday.
FRESNO, Calif. — The man accused of a racially motivated shooting rampage in Fresno has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in the killing of a Motel 6 security guard days earlier.
The Fresno County district attorney’s office announced the charge Thursday against Kori Ali Muhammad, 39. He could face the death penalty.
Police said he told them Carl Williams, who was also white, showed him disrespect when he visited a woman at the hotel.
Muhammad shot the guard multiple times at close range shortly after 11 p.m., police said — an act that would set off a chain of events leading to Tuesday’s mass shooting.
Prosecutors say they’re holding off on three additional counts in the deaths of three white men Tuesday while investigators piece together their case.
Authorities say Muhammad, who is black, told police he wanted to kill as many white people as possible after he learned he was wanted in the shooting death of unarmed security guard Mr. Williams. Muhammad is due in court Friday.
Police say Muhammad gave rare and unusual details about his movements and the killings over several hours of questioning following his arrest, even returning with officers to the crimes scenes and demonstrating his actions.
The father of Muhammad says his son blamed white people for putting crack cocaine on the streets and getting him hooked on drugs.
KFSN reports that Vincent Taylor, the father of Muhammad, says his son developed a hatred for white people as a teenager. Muhammad converted to the Nation of Islam and took the name Kori Muhammad as a teenager. His father says his birth name is Cory Taylor.
A new affidavit says an acquaintance of Muhammad tried to hide evidence in the Fresno motel following the killing there last week.
The Fresno Bee reports that an affidavit shows 53-year-old Lisa Renee Martin was arrested after the killing of Mr. Williams. It says she barricaded herself in the motel room after Kori Ali Muhammad gunned him down, forcing police to break down the door. Police later found a backpack with documents showing Muhammad’s name, four revolver speed loaders and .357 caliber bullets. Ms. Martin was charged as an accessory and has been released from jail.
Meanwhile, an evening vigil was set be held Thursday for one of the three victims killed this week.
Mark Gassett had just picked up groceries at a Catholic Charities building when police say Muhammad shot him in the chest.