A 39-year-old man went on a shooting spree in the central California town of Fresno on Tuesday, killing three people and injuring another before being arrested, authorities said.

The suspect, an African-American named Kori Ali Muhammad, is believed to have shot a security guard last week outside a motel in the city. The guard died in hospital.

Fresno police chief Jerry Dyer told reporters that Muhammad, who used the alias Black Jesus, shouted Allahu Akbara as he was being taken into custody.

He added that Muhammad had also indicated to police and in postings on his Facebook page that he hated white people and the government.

This was a random act of violence, Dyer said. These were unprovoked attacks by an individual who was intent on carrying out homicides today.

He added that there was every reason to believe Muhammad had acted alone.

Lieutenant Mark Hudson, a police spokesman, told AFP the FBI had been contacted about the killings and it was too early to say whether they were terror-related.

A spokeswoman for the FBI declined comment, referring media inquiries to local police.

Dyer said Tuesday’s victims were all white males ” as was the security guard” and one was shot while sitting in the passenger seat of a car.

He said the shootings, which took place at around 10:45 am at four different locations in the downtown area of the city, were unprovoked and that up to 16 rounds were fired during the brief rampage.

Dyer said Muhammad had a criminal history including for weapons violations, drugs and making terrorist threats.

He said he was known to be homeless at times and had associated with gangs.

Muhammad faces four counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, authorities said.

Hudson said the weapon used in the killings had not been recovered.

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