A US army veteran rammed eight people crossing the road in Sunnyvale, California, because he believed at least some of them were Muslim, police said. He may now face hate crime charges in addition to attempted murder.
“Based on our investigation, new evidence shows that the defendant intentionally targeted victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith,” Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Chief Phan S. Ngo said on Friday.
Isaiah Peoples, 34-year-old Iraq war veteran, ploughed his Toyota Corolla into a group of pedestrians and cyclists as they were crossing the street on Tuesday. Peoples reportedly made no attempt to stop, ramming the crowd, traveling at over 60mph. Out of the eight people injured, three are children: a nine-year-old boy, a 15-year-old boy, and a 13-year-old girl of South Asian descent. The girl was rushed to hospital with a severe brain injury and is now in a coma.
Peoples has been charged with eight counts of attempted murder so far. However, the prosecution does not rule out that hate crime charges might be added to his indictment at some point.
“There is no hate crime allegation charged at this point in time for one reason only; the matter is still being investigated,” Jay Boyarski, Santa Clara County chief assistant district attorney said, as cited by CBS San Francisco.