April 19–Zackary Randalls was on his first ride-along Tuesday as a newly hired Pacific Gas & Electric employee, riding in the passenger seat of a company truck.

That assignment came to a sudden and stunning end: Randalls, 34, who lives in Clovis, was struck by bullets when gunman Kori Ali Muhammad allegedly fired a gun into the utility truck from the passenger side on Van Ness Avenue. Randalls later died at Community Regional Medical Center. Friends say Randalls, who graduated from Lemoore High in 2001, was excited about his new job and that Tuesday was his first day out of the classroom.

He and his wife of eight years, Katie, a Madera Unified School elementary school teacher, have a preschool-aged son and daughter. Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer broke down momentarily during a Tuesday night press conference after mentioning his meeting with Katie Randalls.

Nick Stavropoulos, president of PG&E, said he was devastated that the utility company had lost a employee. Friends say Randalls was someone who could sway another’s beliefs in others because of his nonjudgmental attitude.

Randalls was targeted by Muhammad because he was white, said Dyer. “From what I’ve heard, this was racially motivated,” said Joey Contente, a friend of Randall’s since Little League who recently moved to Oklahoma. “That makes it even sadder because Zack was truly a person who never saw color in anybody.” Contente said Randalls was also charitable, a person who would look in his neighbor’s bowl not to see if they had more, “but if they had enough.” “He was truly the best person I’ve ever known,” Contente said.

If he spoke with friends about the shooting that killed him, Contente said, he wouldn’t have judged Muhammad. “Zack would be the first person to ask why we are judging him for his beliefs,” Contente said. “He would say he (Muhammad) obviously had a mental issue, that his beliefs didn’t cause this.”

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Source: Fresno Bee | Marc Benjamin 

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