A horrifying story out of California took another sad twist Wednesday as the identity of a man suspected of driving his car into a crowd was revealed.
34-year-old Army veteran Isaiah Joel Peoples of Sunnyvale, California is suspected of intentionally driving his Toyota Corolla into a crowd of pedestrians Tuesday evening in a shopping district near his Silicon Valley home, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Sunnyvale is home to Google, LinkedIn, and Yahoo!, among other tech businesses and aerospace companies.
Witnesses described “bodies flying” as the driver of the car slammed into pedestrians in a crosswalk at 60 mph before steering onto a sidewalk and hitting more. One victim flew as far as 30 feet upon impact.
The driver then ran into a tree. He got out of the car and was rambling “I love you, Jesus” over and over again before lying face down in a bed of pine needles, according to witnesses.
Incredible, there were no deaths. Eight people were injured, three of them critically. A 13-year-old girl riding her bicycle is among the critically injured. Her twisted bike could be seen in images from the scene.
Isaiah was arrested. His brother Joshua told the Chronicle that his brother Isaiah served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.
He said Isaiah has experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was hospitalized in a mental facility for a year back in 2015. He is also on an antidepressant medication.
“I’m completely shocked this happened,” Joshua exclaimed. “My brother is a really good kid. He doesn’t do drugs and rarely drinks.”
“He’s always just trying to do good for himself,” he added. “I really believe him going to the Army and Afghanistan messed up his mental health.”
Police are convinced the driver intentionally rammed into the pedestrians. The FBI is also involved in the investigation but say there are no signs that this was a domestic terrorism event.
“Some of the statements (from witnesses) show that the driver did not try to avoid the pedestrians at the crosswalk, and there was no attempt to swerve, drive away or brake,” police Capt. Jim Choi explained.
Authorities say Peoples is facing eight counts of attempted murder.
The incident was reminiscent of another involving a military veteran who was suspected of suffering from PTSD. In May 2017, a 26-year-old Navy veteran also suffering from drug and alcohol abuse drove his Honda Accord down a Times Square sidewalk after getting high on PCP, according to NBC News. He told a witness “I wanted to kill them” after he killed one pedestrian and injured 22 others before hitting a barricade.
Our prayers go out to the victims of the California attack.