Walmart crash, attack suspect involved in similar incidents

April 2, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The 33-year-old San Jose man accused of driving his car into a crowded Walmart store and assaulting four people on Easter Sunday appeared in court Tuesday for unrelated charges. It turns out he has had a few run-ins with police recently for surprisingly similar incidents.

San Jose police say Haamid Zaid also drove a silver Lexus right through the double glass doors of a Chevron gas station and convenience store on Capitol Expressway last December. The car knocked down display counters and smashed into a refrigerated case on the far wall.

"The girls were telling me about it, the cashiers who were here were telling me that they just heard a crash and they jumped over the counter and that's all they did. It was just frightening," employee Mary-Helen Esquievel said. "The next thing they knew, the police were here and the guy was taken out of the restroom."

Police were glad to catch up with Zaid because minutes earlier, the same car was involved in a hit-and-run accident about three miles away.

A month later, San Jose police were called to a house on Laurelei Avenue where Zaid lives with his girlfriend. Police had received a call from his cellphone that someone was burglarizing the house. But instead of cooperating with police, Zaid took off, leading them on a foot chase. Officers said Zaid behaved as though he was under the influence of drugs. Zaid admitted that he had been smoking meth.

Neighbors said Zaid had a history of erratic behavior. "He looks like a normal guy but it's been many instances where he's been running down the street either intoxicated or on some kind of drugs," Steve Delgros said.

The 93 pages of court documents released Tuesday also indicate Zaid threw a chair through a window at a bar in San Jose last October. All of these charges are being consolidated into one case.

Zaid appeared in court Tuesday for charges involving drug use and giving false information to a police officer, but the case was postponed for another week.

Zaid is being held at the Santa Clara County jail and is scheduled to appear in court Thursday on charges he faces involving the incident that happened at Walmart.

Man who stopped attack at Walmart talks to ABC7 News

One of the bystanders who helped subdue Zaid at Walmart says the suspect was behaving strangely. After the Oldsmobile Cutlass crashed into the Walmart, the driver was surrounded by customers trying to stop him. One guy in khaki pants and a hat lying on top of Zaid in a cellphone video is Art Enriquez of San Jose. Enriquez is a 350-pound man who helped stop the attack.

"I told him to stay down, stay down and he's looking up at me and I'm looking right at his eyes and he says, 'What did I do? What did I do? I didn't do nothing wrong,' and I'm like, 'Look at this carnage you just caused, man.'"

Witnesses say after the crash into the Walmart store, Zaid was hitting people with a metal object. A 61-year-old employee was hurt.

"To see that man hurt on the floor and he was there working on his day off, of all things, on Easter. It was... It felt good to take him down because I knew I was doing something right," said Enriquez.

Enriquez is glad he showed up when he did. He said, "I hope the judge throws the book at him because he needs to be locked up for a long time."

Zaid is only accused and has not been convicted.

ABC7 News reporter John Alston contributed to this report.

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