FRESNO, Calif. -- One man had just started a new job with the gas company and was riding in a utility truck. Another was carrying a bag of groceries after stopping at a charity center. The third was at a bus stop with a friend, waiting for a ride home.
All three were randomly shot dead by a black gunman, Kori Ali Muhammad, who wanted to kill as many white people as possible and was proud of what he had done, laughing as he explained his actions in interviews with police, authorities said Wednesday.
"That's what he set out to do that day. He said he did not like white men and said white people were responsible for keeping black people down," Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
The men were at the wrong place at the wrong time Tuesday.
Zackary Randalls was the first to die when Muhammad, 39, walked up to a Pacific Gas & Electric truck and fired into the passenger seat. Randalls, 34, had just started work as a customer-service representative and was doing a ride-along, something he was excited about, friend Eddie Valencia said. He described the father of two preschoolers as an open-minded person with a sharp wit and big heart.
"He wouldn't want people to be divided by this," Valencia said. "There were no boundaries with race, religions, beliefs, with anything. If you were a good person and basically could have a good conversation, he would call you a friend. He was a stand-up guy."
Muhammad also shot Mark Gassett, 37, of Fresno, who had just picked up groceries at a Catholic Charities building. The gunman pumped two more rounds into Gassett as he lay on the ground, police said.
Gassett's ex-wife Lisa Gassett told The Fresno Bee that he had faced hard times but had been working to improve his life. The couple has two children.
"He would give his shirt off his back for anybody," she told the newspaper. "That is the kind of guy he was."
Next, Muhammad shot toward a bus stop where he had spotted three white men, police said. They scattered, and Muhammad picked the one who was older and appeared heavier: David Jackson, 58, of Fresno.
Jackson's roommate said they were waiting for a bus home after going to the bank and then stopping to use the bathroom at Catholic Charities.
Mark Greer, 62, said Jackson tripped over a curb in the parking lot, falling down when he was shot. Greer was able to get away.
"I was too fast for him, but David couldn't run that good," he said.
Muhammad was arrested shortly after the rampage. He was expected to be charged with four counts of murder and arraigned Friday.
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