Army vet with PTSD 'intentionally' plows into pedestrians in Silicon Valley, charged with 8 counts of attempted murder
An Iraq war veteran has been charged with eight counts of attempted murder after he allegedly plowed his car into a crowd of people in Silicon Valley, California, on purpose.
According to the Daily Mail, at around 6:40 pm on Tuesday, April 23, 34-year-old Isaiah Joel Peoples sped his 2012 Toyota Corolla through a crosswalk between El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Saratoga Road and into a crowd of innocent people. Eight people were injured, the youngest a nine-year-old boy who was treated for minor injuries. Four remained hospitalized, including a 13-year-old girl in critical condition.
Describing the horrific scene, witness Don Draper said, "I saw this woman fly through the air right in front of me. She flipped upside down and then fell right in front of my car." He said he quickly went over to Peoples' car, which had swerved onto a sidewalk and crashed into a tree, to check on the veteran.
He claimed that while the 34-year-old did not appear to be drunk, he did appear to be in a daze and was mumbling, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus," over and over again under his breath.
Sunnyvale Police Chief Phan Ngo said Peoples had picked up food and was on his way to deliver it to his Bible study group when the accident happened but said there was nothing about his behavior that struck him as odd. "When we took him into custody, he did not behave in any manner that would be considered bizarre," he said. "He has not shown any remorse."
Peoples is a former army sharpshooter who was deployed in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, and in an interview with ABC News, his mother Leevell Peoples insisted the accident was likely a result of her son's post-traumatic stress disorder.
She recounted how, in 2015, while Peoples was walking barefoot in Sacramento, he suddenly thought he was still in Iraq and picked up a rock and threw it through a nearby window. Then, in the hospital, she said he told an officer guarding him that he heard gunshots and asked him how many people had been killed.
Leevell said her son had gone back on his medication after that incident but that in recent weeks, his PTSD was acting up again because of trouble at work — having graduated from Sacramento State University in 2007, he was working as an auditor for the Defense Department in nearby Mountain View.
"I know with 100% certainty that my son did not do that on purpose. No way ever," she said. "He's an Army vet. He's a good kid, never been arrested. I promise you: It was not deliberate. If anything, it was that Army."
Police went to his home to execute a search on the day of the accident and investigators are currently processing the evidence found during the search. The FBI is assisting in the case, but there is no evidence linking Peoples to any terrorist organization.
Peoples is scheduled to appear in court for his arraignment on Friday, April 26. He has no previous criminal record and his mother argued her son needed psychiatric treatment and that he did not belong inside a jail cell.