A 34-year-old man was charged with eight counts of attempted murder Wednesday after police said he appeared to “accelerate” his car into a crosswalk where pedestrians were walking in Sunnyvale, Calif.
Isaiah Peoples, a Sunnyvale resident, was identified as the driver who plowed into eight people on Tuesday evening in the city located just west of San Jose. Investigators are still working to determine a motive, but police said that Peoples admitted to purposely hitting the pedestrians.
“He did not say why he did it,” Capt. Jim Choi, a spokesman for the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, told the Sacramento Bee. “He did indicate that it was an intentional act. He did not express any remorse as far as we can tell.”
Witnesses told police that Peoples appeared to speed up as he neared the crosswalk.
“Peoples did not slow down prior to the collision and appeared to accelerate as he moved into the crosswalk as the victims were crossing,” Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety chief Phan Ngo said Wednesday. Evidence gathered at the scene led police to believe Peoples “intentionally ran over the pedestrians,” Ngo said.
Following the incident, six people were transported to local hospitals for treatment and evaluation, said Ngo, who declined to identify the victims. He said the people injured ranged in age from 9 to 52. A 13-year-old “sustained the most serious injury” and is in critical condition, Ngo said.
Police said it does not appear Peoples knew any of the pedestrians. Ngo said there is no information linking Peoples, who is believed to have acted alone, to “known terrorist organizations.” Authorities in Sunnyvale are working with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI, Ngo said.
Peoples was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on Wednesday, according to public records.
Calls reporting the collision started coming in around 6:40 p.m. local time, Choi told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Choi said Peoples was alone in a black four-door sedan when he struck the pedestrians along one of the city’s major roads. The car came to a stop after it hit a nearby tree, Choi said.
Authorities said Wednesday that Peoples did not appear to be injured and “refused medical treatment.” He was arrested at the scene.
Cellphone video showed Peoples sitting on the ground, and he could be heard shouting, “Yes Lord, Jesus, yes Lord” and “Thank you Jesus.” Ngo said a witness also told police Peoples had “stated something similar to ‘Thank you God.’”
Photos of the aftermath showed police examining a black vehicle with a heavily damaged hood. Emergency vehicles and police cars blocked the road, their lights flashing.
Debris, including two overturned bicycles, could be seen scattered in the road near a crosswalk.