Prosecutors will file new hate crime charges against a former Army sharpshooter accused of eight counts of attempted murder after he deliberately plowed his car into pedestrians at a California crosswalk last month, authorities said Thursday.
Two hate crime allegations will be filed against 34-year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples, a veteran of the Iraq war, Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office spokesman Sean Webby said.
Peoples’ mother said he has struggled with PTSD.
He showed no remorse after his car intentionally plowed at high speed into a group of people on April 24 in a crosswalk in the Silicon Valley suburb of Sunnyvale, then went on to hit a tree, police Chief Phan Ngo has said.
Evidence shows Peoples targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim faith, Ngo said
A 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl were among those injured. The girl remains in a coma with brain trauma.
A hearing in the case was set for later Thursday in San Jose. He could enter a plea.
Family and friends described Peoples as quiet and polite and expressed shock at his involvement.
His mother, Leevell Peoples of Sacramento, said her son had “a bad episode” with PTSD in 2015, for which he was hospitalized, and has told her that he had been taking medication regularly since then.
She said she could not imagine any situation in which her son would deliberately crash into innocent people other than something related to the PTSD.
Peoples was honorably discharged from the Army, and police were investigating the PTSD report, Ngo said. Peoples had no criminal record.