Shooting suspect described as awkward, angry

Former friend, classmate remember their time with Kori Muhammad

FRESNO, Calif. - Search for Kori Muhammad online, and this is typical of what you'll find. (warning: explicit language)

Self-made videos of a small time rapper, turned big time accused murderer.

"He talked to me about maybe doing some videos-- some rap videos," said Derek Bavin, a former classmate of Muhammad's at Fresno City College.

"I just really felt uncomfortable."

Bavin says Muhammad would often not show up for class weeks at a time.  He'd then return and accuse the instructors of being racist and out to get him.

"He's very, very unstable," said Bavin.

Muhammad's former friend says he also saw that instability.

"I unfriended him about two years ago on Facebook," said Jojo Romelo.  "I didn't like the way he was going."

Jojo Romelo considered himself Muhammad's friend.

He says he met the shooting suspect in 2014 at CMAC-- a non-profit public access television studio in downtown Fresno where Muhammad's hard rap persona sometimes took a softer edge.

"Nice to meet you, how you doing, how you been," Romelo remembered.  "It was always very nice.  I never saw him angry or mad, but you know what, I was thinking about it today and every time I saw him he looked unhappy.  Even though he was smiling, he looked unhappy.  Like there was something wrong with him."

Romelo says Muhammad began focusing on his anger, pushing others away.

Four months ago, he says his old friend reached out with a new friend request.  Romelo ignored it.

Now he wonders: what if?

"It's going to eat at me for the rest of my life," Romelo said.  "I don't know if he wanted to talk something out.  I don't know what it was.  He wanted to talk to me about something, I don't know what it was, but I ignored the guy."

For Muhammad's former classmate Bavin, Tuesday's shooting spree has also left a mixture of fear, pain, and disbelief.

"Couldn't believe it when I saw it," he said.  "Very, very scary stuff."


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