The three victims of a gunman police said was targeting white people in downtown Fresno on Tuesday, and the security guard he’s accused of killing days earlier, were fathers, sons, brothers and friends.
They were also strangers who happened to be of the same race, and to suspected gunman Kori Ali Muhammad, that was enough to target them, according to police. Muhammad, they said, had set out to kill as many white men as he could when he stalked the streets of Fresno this week.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Muhammad, a black man who spoke of an ongoing race war, was “a racist” who was “filled with hate.”
A security guard was shot and killed five days earlier by Muhammad, police say.
These are the victims and their stories:
Zackary David Randalls
When Zackary Randalls knew he wanted to propose his future wife, Katie, his friend tattooed “Will you marry me?” with check boxes for “Yes” or “No” on his knees. Katie tattooed a check in the “Yes” box.
“When you sit down with someone for hours at a time, you really get to know someone,” said his friend and tattoo artist, Zoombie Laurel, who also goes by Zoombie Nation.
Laurel, who knew the young father for 12 years, said he’ll be tattooing in Randalls’ memory this weekend at his Fresno shop, not far from the scene of the shooting. All proceeds from the tattoo sales will go to Randalls’ two children and his wife, a teacher in the Madera Unified School District
The Lemoore High School graduate was a doting father to his 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, as well as a devoted Dodgers fan, Laurel said.
Randalls had been working at the Fashion Fair mall before he decided to take a job at Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Randalls thought it would be a good move for his family’s future, his friends said.
“They were his whole world,” his friend, Jonathan Gilbert, said. “They were his everything.”
To help him get the job, Laurel covered up Randalls’ two tattoos, one the word “Love” and the other the initials “TCB” (Elvis Presley's “Taking Care of Business” mantra).
Randalls had only been working at the utility’s call center for about month when he went on a ride-along Tuesday morning. He was sitting in the passenger seat when the gunman approached and fatally shot him.
Gilbert said the 34-year-old Clovis resident was revered by friends, family and coworkers, some of whom have been moved to donate to growing memorial funds online.
“He was just an awesome person. He was the type of friend I can call at 3 o’clock in the morning with any trouble I was in… You don’t get friends like that every day,” Gilbert said.
Mark James Gassett
Known to his family as “Marky,” Mark Gassett had been looking for work Tuesday morning before he headed to Catholic Charities to get groceries, his stepfather, Harold Wagner, said.
The 37-year-old Fresno resident was headed home when he was fatally shot.
Gassett had been staying at a rehabilitation facility nearby and frequented the food bank, Wagner said.
“He has had problems, but he was doing good,” Wagner said.
Gassett, who grew up in Fresno, attended Central High School, according to the Central Unified School District. His mother works as bus driver for the district.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark's family, as well as all of the families of the victims from yesterday's tragedy,” the district said.
His mother, Rosie Wagner, told the Fresno Bee that Gassett was on disability, but had been previously employed as a woodworker.
Gassett was devoted to his two sons, Layten, 9, and Troy, 14, Harold Wagner said. “He loves his kids,” his stepfather said.
Gassett’s family has created a Gofundme fundraising page to raise money to help pay for his children’s future education expenses.
David Martin Jackson
David Martin Jackson, 58, of Fresno had been sitting at a bus stop with two other men when a shot rang out.
Mark Greer told the Fresno Bee that Jackson tried to reason with the gunman. Greer, a friend of Jackson, told him to get out, but the victim didn’t listen.
The gunman chased after him. Greer said Jackson tripped over a curb in the parking lot of Catholic Charities when two more shots were fired.
Greer said the gunman broke out into laughter.
Jackson’s neighbor, Veronica Estrada, said that “there’s always violence in this neighborhood. But something like this? What was he doing? He just wanted to eat.”
Carl Williams was splitting his time between two supervising jobs at Monument Security and Toys R Us, so he could afford to buy a home for his family, according to a relative.
“He was the nicest guy you could ever meet and never hurt anybody,” his aunt, Christy Tai, wrote in a Facebook post.
Williams, 25, was working as a security guard for Monument on April 13 at Motel 6 when he was shot at close range by the gunman. Police said Williams and another guard told the gunman he couldn’t visit a female customer without checking in at the motel office first. Williams was not armed.
“His killing was so senseless,” Tai wrote. “I just can't get over the fact that he was shot as he was leaving. He didn't deserve this.”