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108 Hours: Taking down Kori Muhammad and where Fresno goes from here

Crime & Punishment

108 Hours: Taking down Kori Muhammad and where Fresno goes from here

The two connected deadly incidents destined for a prominent spot in local crime history have us asking: what happened and what will change?

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It’s time to talk about the 108 hours connecting two deadly incidents destined to have a prominent spot in local crime history.

More importantly, it’s time to talk about how Fresnans in the future might go about analyzing their own safety strategies.

Kori Ali Muhammad is alleged to have shot and killed security guard Carl Williams III shortly after 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 at the Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue, just north of Ashlan Avenue.

Muhammad is also alleged to have shot and killed Zackary Randalls, Mark Gassett and David Jackson shortly before 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 18 in the Catholic Charities neighborhood on the north edge of Downtown’s Cultural Arts District.

Police quickly captured Muhammad on April 18, or the death toll almost certainly would have been higher.

Fresno’s media have done a superb job over the last two weeks in telling this story. Just about every angle has been covered in impressive detail.

You know that story by now. I won’t repeat it here.

But one piece of the story is missing, or I’ve overlooked it. What did the police and the administration of Mayor Lee Brand do in the way of public safety strategy between the Motel 6 shooting and the Catholic Charities shootings? Will there be a post-incident report reviewing the actions of public officials and police during that period?

The purpose of such questions is not to blame. The mission is to analyze the performance of Fresno’s public safety system, starting at the top. The audience for the answers to my questions is the public that funds the system.

I have tried for the past week to get answers. What follows is the result of that effort.

This is how things will unfold. They won’t be in chronological order. That’s because I want to make sure the Mayor’s comments are presented to the reader relatively quickly.

I do this because the Mayor is highly critical of my premise and my journalistic integrity. Maybe the Mayor is right. Maybe not. Both of us are in the business of letting the people have the final say.

I reached out to Lt. Mark Hudson (the Police Department’s public information officer) and Mark Standriff (the city’s communications director) requesting an interview with Chief Jerry Dyer.

What follows is my email to Standriff, explaining the nature of my piece in greater detail and asking for an interview with Brand. I asked Standriff to forward my email to the Mayor.

Next up will be Brand’s statement to me, sent to me via email by Standriff.

I conclude with Dyer’s comments to me during our 30-minute interview.

I view my questions as part of a legitimate debate on public safety policy. Dyer disagreed with some of my suggestions, but answered every question in detail and with his usual eloquence.

The Chief will have the last word.

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George Hostetter

George Hostetter is a contributor to CVObserver and advisor to The Collegian, the student newspaper of Fresno State.

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