A San Francisco Bay Area operator charged against eight counts of attempted slaying is suspected of targeting the victims because he thought they were Muslim, local authorities said Friday.
Sunnyvale Police Chief Phan Ngo said at a news conference that there’s evidence 34 -year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples intentionally drove his auto into the crowd on Tuesday because he felt some of them were Muslim. He declined to elaborate further.
The car rammed into eight pedestrians in a Sunnyvale intersection. The injured included a South Asian father and his 13 -year-old daughter, who was the most severely injured. Her younger brother was not hit, according to The Mercury News.
Ngo said Friday that the girl “remains in critical condition.”
Jay Boyarsky, the chief assistant district attorney for Santa Clara County, called the evidence “very appalling and disturbing” but said his office has not yet decided to move forward with hate crime charges against Peoples, an Army veteran who lives in Sunnyvale.
“I know that there are questions about what the same reasons of this misdemeanour was, and some of you are wondering about whether this is a hate crime, ” Boyarsky said at Friday’s news conference. “There is no hate crime allegation accused at this spot in time for one reasonablenes only: The problem is still being investigated.”