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The Army veteran accused of ploughing his car into a crowd of pedestrians in California last month believed at least two members of the group were of Islamic descent, prosecutors said in court this week.
Isaiah Peoples, 34, faces two hate crime charges and eight counts of attempted murder after police say he deliberately struck in the Sunnyvale crossing on April 24, injuring eight people.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen told reporters Thursday he was convinced that the perceived religion of two of the victims was a “motivating factor” in the violent attack.
SUSPECT ACCUSED OF PLOWING CAR INTO CROWD, INJURING 8, THE ARMY VET WHO SERVED IN IRAQ
The peoples, who are not entering a plea, was said to have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning from Iraq in May 2006. He had no criminal record, but was honorable discharged from the army.
This April 23, 2019, the image file of the video that is provided by KGO-TV, shows the scene of a car accident where several pedestrians were struck and injured in Sunnyvale, Calif. (KGO-TV via AP, File)
Pentagon spokesman, Lt.-Col. Emmanuel Ortiz confirmed Peoples ” in the Middle East from June 2005 to May 2006, but did not elaborate on his resignation.
Peoples’ mother, Leevell Peoples”, said her son was fired by his PTSD, citing a “bad episode” in 2015, which reportedly required hospitalization.
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The police are investigating if PTSD may have played a role in the April attack.
If convicted on the charges, each hate crime carries up to six years in prison.
Among the people who are injured at the crosswalk was a 13-year-old girl of Indian origin, who remains in a coma after suffering a brain injury.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.