Zackary Randalls was on his first ride-along Tuesday as a newly hired Pacific Gas & Electric Co. 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 District 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 Randalls’ 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 also was 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.
HE COULD ALWAYS MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU WERE HIS BEST FRIEND, I BET AT HIS FUNERAL HE WILL HAVE 25 BEST FRIENDS.
Steve Spurrier, owner of SS Motorsports in Fresno
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.”
Randalls’ former boss, Steve Spurrier of SS Motorsports in Fresno, said Randalls worked 18 months for him before taking the job with PG&E. He said Randalls had previously worked as a manager at the Vans store in Fashion Fair mall.
Spurrier knew Randalls when they were kids in Lemoore and when Randalls moved to Fresno with his father, they started hanging out together.
No matter how long it was since you saw him, “Zack was one of those friends that you would just pick up where you left off,” Spurrier said.
He offered Randalls a job because Randalls was working too many late hours and not seeing enough of his wife and children.
“I hired him so he could have a normal life with his wife and family,” Spurrier said. “It was hard for him to tell me he got the job with PG&E; he didn’t want to leave me hanging.”
Last year, Spurrier recalled, a van rolled over near Shields and Clovis avenues, and Randalls climbed on top of the vehicle to get the children out and waited and talked with their mother until help could arrive.
Spurrier learned about Tuesday’s shootings from a friend who arrived at his shop. He knew today was the first day Randalls would be out in the field and he learned that Randalls was the only new employee on a ride-along.
“Of all the people in the world, he was one of the good guys,” Spurrier said. “He had an immaculate background and was never in trouble.”
While Randalls had tattoos and shaved his head, Spurrier said he was the first person to see inside others, not to judge them by what appears on the outside.
“He could always make you feel like you were his best friend,” Spurrier said. “I bet at his funeral he will have 25 best friends.”
|Chowchilla News Day
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