Earlier this week in Sunnyvale, CA, a man recklessly ran down a group of pedestrians with his vehicle, injuring 8 people, including a 13-year-old girl who is now clinging to life.
After further investigation, police have concluded that the man was targeting the family, thinking that they must be Muslim, based on their appearance. After the accident, the man was reportedly heard saying the words, “Thank you Jesus” over and over.
According to The Mercury News:
‘Police are now treating the crash as a hate crime. They said they believe the driver, Isaiah Joel Peoples, targeted the family, believed to be South Asian, purely based on their appearance. Three family members — the father, a 13-year-old daughter and her 9-year-old brother — were among the eight people injured in the crash. The daughter was the most severely hurt. She is in a coma and fighting for her life, police said.’
Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Chief Phan Ngo said:
‘New evidence shows that the defendant intentionally targeted the victims based on their race, and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith.’
Sunnyvale Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Boyarsky said there was “very appalling and disturbing evidence” that the family had been targeted for what Peoples assumed was their religion.
The Mercury News report goes on to say:
‘Peoples’ mental state will be the “battleground” of the case, said Attorney Chuck Smith, who appeared on Peoples’ behalf. He said they will dispute that the crash was intentional, and argued that the tragedy was a product of possible post-traumatic stress syndrome afflicting a man who otherwise led an “honorable” and “blameless” life.
‘“This act was clearly the result of a mental disorder or defect,” Smith said.
‘But Boyarsky said the attack itself inflicted severe trauma.
‘“There are eight people who were seriously injured as a result of this man’s actions,” he said. “It’s traumatizing to these victims, it’s traumatizing to the police officers who had to see the carnage, it’s traumatizing to all members of the community who wonder about whether these people were targeted because of their race and religion.”’
Watch as this eye witness describes what he saw:
Peoples’ family has described him as a “good kid,” but also one that has shown signs of PTSD after returning from a five-year stint in the army and a tour in Iraq. Perhaps this is the root of his dangerous behavior and murderous intentions, but we can’t help but think that it could also be a product of the country as it is today under a racist tyrannical “president” who regularly incites violence amongst his base.
Peoples has no known criminal history, and so far, no out of the ordinary social media posts have been discovered. Police said they are examining his computer, which is one of several items they seized from his apartment on Wednesday through a search warrant.
Peoples is being charged with 8 counts of attempted murder. At this point, police have yet to say the words “Domestic Terrorism,” but they are treating it as a hate crime.
Featured image via screenshot