Police in the western U.S. state of California say a man who shot dead three men Tuesday in the city of Fresno wanted to “kill as many people as he could.”

Kori Ali Muhammad was taken into custody shortly after firing 16 shots in the span of a few minutes that left a 34-year-old, a 37-year-old and a 59-year-old dead.

“I did it. I shot them,” Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Muhammad told officers.

All three of the victims were white. One was a utility worker on the job when he was shot, while the others were killed outside a Catholic Charities building.

Muhammad’s father, Vincent Taylor, told the Los Angeles Times that his son, who is black, believed he was part of war between blacks and whites and “a battle was about to take place.”

Dyer said Muhammad yelled, “Allahu Akbar,” both during the first shooting and after his arrest, but that authorities do not believe the attacks had anything to do with terrorism.

“Based on information that we have been provided and our investigation has shown, is that this is solely based on race and it has nothing to do with terrorism in spite of the statements that he made,” Dyer told reporters. “He did clarify that the reason he made that statement, in the event that anything did happen to him, that he was in fact pledging his allegiance to God for protection.”

Muhammad is facing four counts of murder. He is also the chief suspect in the shooting death last week of a hotel security guard.

Dyer said that after Muhammad saw a police department media release about the earlier shooting he “made a decision to himself that he was not going to go to jail,” and would shoot as many people as possible.

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