Deadly shooting spree in California being called 'a hate crime'

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Kori Muhammad, 39, is in Fresno Police custody after a shooting rampage in Downtown Fresno, California. (ABC News)

California police have arrested a man they believe shot and killed three people in three different locations Tuesday in downtown Fresno, California.

Officers witnessed him yell "Allah Akbar," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Tuesday afternoon, adding that he has written anti-government sentiments on social media as well as posts saying that he does not like white people. The murdered victims were white males.

Later in the day, at a press conference Tuesday night, Dyer said he did not believe the murders were related to terrorism, adding that the shootings were "solely based on race," deeming it a hate crime.

Around 10:45 a.m. local time, police officers with the Fresno Police Department responded to a scene after two gunshots were detected through ShotSpotter, a gunfire locator, according to Dyer. Several more gunshots were detected nearby, Dyer said.

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Action News was there the moment a PG&E truck pulled up to Fresno Police Headquarters after a shooting in Downtown Fresno.

A total of 16 rounds were fired in less than a minute in four different locations, Dyer said.

One of the shooting victims was driven to police in a Pacific Gas and Electric Company truck, Dyer said. That shooting was "unprovoked," Dyer said.

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Action News Reporter Joe Ybarra witnessed the dramatic end to the violence in Downtown Fresno.

The suspect then encountered a resident in the neighborhood, who he shot at multiple times but missed, Dyer said. After that, he encountered another man, who he shot and killed, Dyer said.

The suspect, who was armed with a revolver, then dropped shell casings and reloaded his gun before he set off to Catholic Charities on North Fulton Street in Fresno, Dyer said. There, he encountered a man in the parking lot and killed him, Dyer said.

Family members identified the second victim as 37-year-old Mark Gassett. Gassett had just left the Catholic Charities with a grocery bag full of food when he was shot. They said he was a father and will be missed by many.

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Family members identified the second victim as 37-year-old Mark Gassett.

Another, a 58-years-old man, was also shot and killed in a nearby parking lot. Police said he may have been a client of Catholic Charities.

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Fresno officials have been calling for prayer for the victim?s family and for the community.

Officers responding to the scene saw a black man running, who got on the ground once he saw the officers, Dyer said.

Police identified the suspect as Kori Ali Muhammad -- born Kori McDonald -- who was already wanted for an alleged murder of a security guard at Motel 6 on Thursday.

Dyer has called in the FBI to help with the investigation, and at this time, the firearm is still missing.

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The identities of the victims have not officially been released by investigators but we are learning more about each of them.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno has put out a statement condemning the acts of violence committed by Muhammad. Local Muslim leaders said that they do not know him.

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