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Are Violent Interracial Crimes on the Rise?

On the morning of April 18, Kori Ali Muhammad stalked the streets of downtown Fresno and fatally shot three white men with a .357 revolver:

Before surrendering to police, he allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar” and expressed hatred toward white people and the government, according to Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

On social media, he referred to white people as “devils.” Earlier in the year, he released a rap album replete with violent, explicit, racially-charged lyrics, including referring to himself in one song as a “black soldier.”

Muhammad was reportedly convinced that there is a war going on between blacks and whites in America.

Is he right?

Something terrible seems to be going on out there. It used to be underneath the surface, but lately, racial resentment and hostility have been out in the open, visible in increasingly blood-curdling ways that cannot be ignored.

Most crimes are committed intra-racially, meaning both victim and perpetrator are of the same race. But in the past few years, violent interracial crimes have been increasing across the country, and race is seemingly a motivating factor.

There are crimes of passion, crimes of opportunity, and crimes of pre-meditation, but the crimes people fear most are deemed "random" -- crimes which can victimize anyone, any place, any time. The following stories from just the past few weeks all seem to fall into the "random" category.

But are they?

-- A white man was shot and killed in Northeast Portland on April 16 by an African-American gunman. The man, identified Sunday as 38-year-old Larry Edwin Van Dolah Jr. of St. Helens, was found near Menlo Park Elementary School. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene. The Oregon State Medical Examiner said he died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Portland police said three suspects were last seen running southbound on 128th Avenue, crossing East Burnside Street. They were described as African-American males, ages 16 to 20 years old, wearing hooded sweatshirts and blue jeans.

There is no known motive for the murder.

-- Trent Stutheit, a 29-year-old father, was shot to death in a parking lot in Omaha on Easter Sunday. Antoine C. Johnson, a 30-year-old black man, was accused of committing the murder, which appeared to be random.

Omaha police are still investigating what led up to the gunfire. Family members say they can't wrap their heads around why somebody would take Stutheit's life.

-- On April 19, a trio of black hoodlums assaulted a Des Moines woman on a DART bus.

Security footage shows three young men slapping Tina Gravitt over and over again. “As they ran off and they were laughing,” Gravitt said. “It was really shocking." Gravitt said the alleged assault came out of nowhere.

-- On the morning of April 20, two white utility workers were shot to death while working in a residential area in St. Louis.

The shooter, who later turned the gun on himself, was identified as Clinton Willis, a 51-year-old black man with a long criminal history.

There was no known motive for the murders.

-- On April 21 in Des Moines, a Burmese-American immigrant was shot down in his car in front of his three children.

Stephen Kim, 41, of Des Moines, was killed after an attempted robbery went wrong while he was waiting in his car for his wife, who was carpooling to meet him after work. He was killed while his three sons -- all under the age of nine -- were sitting in the back seat.

-- Nathaniel Ewing, a 20-year-old sophomore at OU, was gunned down on April 23 in the parking lot of the apartment complex outside the campus.