Prosecutors will file 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, said Sean Webby, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.
Peoples targeted the victims because he believed they were Muslim, Sunnyvale Police Chief Phan Ngo said after the incident.
Peoples’ mother said he has struggled with PTSD.
Peoples showed no remorse after his car intentionally plowed at high speed into a group of people on April 24 in a crosswalk in Silicon Valley, then went on to hit a tree, Ngo has 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.
Peoples could enter a plea at a hearing expected later Thursday in San Jose.
Family and friends described Peoples as quiet and polite and expressed shock at his alleged involvement in the crash.
Peoples had no criminal record. He was honorably discharged from the Army, and police were investigating the PTSD report.
His mother, Leevell Peoples of Sacramento, has said her son had “a bad episode” with PTSD in 2015, for which he was hospitalized.
She said the Army forced him to retire because of PTSD.
He had been deployed to Iraq from June 2005 to May 2006, according to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz. He did not answer questions about whether Peoples’ departure from the Army was due to PTSD.
Leevell Peoples said her son graduated from Sacramento State University after returning from Iraq and was working as an auditor for the Defense Department in Mountain View.