The following is a response from Diocese of Fresno to the shootings that occurred on April 18:
- 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. Scripture states: “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.” (1 John 2:9-11)
- 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. We must reflect on what we have experienced and how we feel about it. Anger and outrage are certainly a natural reaction; yet, these feelings must also be experienced as an invitation to prayerful reflection so that our raw feelings do not take hold and lead us into the very darkness we abhor.
- 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.
- 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.
- We also pray for the conversion of souls that intentionally inflict acts of violence on innocent victims. May their minds and hearts be enlightened and opened to God’s love, mercy and forgiveness; and may we be prepared to walk with them when they seek reconciliation within our community.
- — Teresa Dominguez, Chancellor on behalf of Bishop Armando Ochoa
From Fresno diocese website.
Background on the shooting:
Three men were killed Tuesday morning in a Fresno shooting rampage that police say was carried out by a man they had identified only hours earlier as the suspect in the fatal shooting of an unarmed motel security guard last week.
The 39-year-old suspect, identified as Kori Ali Muhammad, opened fire on four men, hitting three and missing the fourth, before he was taken into custody, police Chief Jerry Dyer said. Muhammad, who is facing four counts of murder for Tuesday’s shootings and the shooting last Thursday at Motel 6 and also two counts of attempted murder, shouted “Ali Akbar” after he spotted approaching officers and dove to the ground on Fulton Street, Dyer said.
Dyer said that it’s too soon to determine if the shooting rampage was terrorism-related. However, a review of Muhammad’s social media shows he quoted the phrase “Allahu Akbar” in a tweet. The Arabic phrase translates to “God is the greatest.”
In addition, Muhammad’s Facebook posts indicated that “he does not like white people, and he has anti-government sentiments,” the chief said. The four men who were targeted Tuesday were white, Dyer said.
Full story at The Fresno Bee.