Isaiah Peoples is the man accused of intentionally plowing his car into a group of people in Sunnyvale, California, on April 23. Sunnyvale is located just to the west of San Jose, close to Silicon Valley. Authorities have said that they are recommending that Peoples face eight counts of attempted murder.
In a statement, Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Captain Jim Choi said that investigators believe that Peoples, 34, intentionally drove into a group of people, injuring eight of them on El Camino Real at rush hour. Peoples was confirmed as a suspect in the case in a press release from the SDPS.
The driver of the car, a black 2010 Toyota Corolla, was taken into custody at the scene after he crashed the car into a tree. That car is registered to Peoples. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Peoples’ registration was revoked before the incident as Peoples attempted to pay a fee with a bad check.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Witnesses Said Peoples ‘Praised Jesus’ After His Arrest
Speaking to KTVU ‘s Jesse Gray, a witness to the incident that they heard Peoples “praise Jesus” while being arrested.
Another witness, Don Draper, backed up that account telling the San Jose Mercury News, “He kept repeating, mumbling over and over again, ‘Jesus, I love you.’ He seemed to be dazed. At this point, I walked back from where the car was, toward the intersection and dialed 911. I was so nervous and upset, I was having trouble dialing.” Draper then reiterated that he heard the driver say, “Jesus, I love you.”
Draper said that Peoples laid face down on the ground after crashing his car and waiting for officers to arrest him.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that on April 24, the day after the incident, multiple police officers could be seen outside of Isaiah Peoples’ home in Sunnyvale, around two miles from the scene of the incident.
Speaking to the newspaper, Captain Choi said that investigators were studying all possible motives but that there was no indication that terrorism was a motivating factor.
2. Peoples Served in Afghanistan & Suffers From PTSD
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Evan Sernoffsky tweeted that he had spoken to Peoples’ brother. The brother said that the suspect previously served in Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD. The brother added that Peoples spent a year in a mental hospital and was taking medication.
According to Isaiah Peoples’ LinkedIn page, he served as a civil affairs specialist in the U.S. Army between April 2005 and June 2006. Peoples listed among his roles, “Brainstormed and planned details of the daily missions with the commander.” Peoples said in a 2005 Facebook post that he had relocated to Ba’Qubah in Diyala, Iraq. In a 2015 Facebook exchange with a friend, People said that he had been out of the service since 2008.
3. Peoples Has a Degree in Accounting From California State
On his LinkedIn page, Peoples said he was living in the Sacramento-area.
The suspect has an associates degree in applied science from Heald College in San Francisco and a bachelor’s in accounting from California State University in Sacramento. Since October 2012, People has worked as a business analyst pricing specialist for UNFI in Rocklin, California.
Peoples says on a Facebook page that has not been updated since 2014 that he attended James Logan High School in Chicago.
4. In the Wake of the Incident, Peoples Brother Wrote on Facebook: ‘Life Is Never Going to Be the Same Now’
Peoples’ brother, Joshua, wrote in a Facebook post shortly before the suspect was named publicly, “Life is never gonna be the same now.”
5. One of the Victims Is a 13-Year-Old Boy
Authorities have said that when police first responded to the scene, the discovered three victims who were suffering from critical injuries. As the officer began scouring the area, they discovered further victims, including a 13-year-old boy, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Videos taken from the scene show the path of the Corolla, with bicycles and belongings scattered along the street. Two of the victims are being treated at Valley Medical Center in San Jose, they are listed as being in serious condition.
Captain Choi said, “Some of the statements (from witnesses) show that the driver did not try to avoid the pedestrians at the cross walk, and there was no attempt to swerve, drive away or brake.” The San Jose Mercury News reports that Peoples has a clean driving record.
One witness tweeted about the incident, Karl D, wrote, “We ate dinner at the opposite corner of that intersection, this evening. We left that area 30 minutes before. It’s a busy spot, with lotsa pedestrians.#Sunnyvale.”
FBI spokesman Prentice Danner has confirmed that the FBI remains on alert in the case. Danner said that the bureau will step in if it is determined that a federal crime took place in Sunnyvale.