Sheriff releases sketch of Stanford hate crime hit-and-run suspect

Authorities say the suspect intentionally ran over Stanford student Abdulwahab Omira in a crosswalk on campus last Friday.

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Friday, November 10, 2023
Sheriff releases sketch of Stanford hate crime hit-and-run suspect
Authorities released a sketch of the Stanford hate crime hit-and-run suspect who they say intentionally ran over student Abdulwahab Omira.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- After days of investigating, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says they're looking for this unidentified man.

The suspect is believed to have committed a hate crime after deputies say he intentionally ran over a Stanford student named Abdulwahab Omira in a crosswalk on campus last Friday.

The suspect's vehicle was described as a black Toyota SUV with a tire mounted on the rear of the vehicle. The Toyota SUV should have front passenger side bumper damage from the collision.

Sketch of Stanford University campus hit-and-run suspect (left); image of the type of vehicle suspect was driving (right).

"Great person to be around. Always smiling. Always happy. Overall just a really nice guy," said a fellow Stanford student who wished to remain anonymous.

The unnamed student has been protesting the Israel-Hamas war on the university's campus for about three weeks.

He says he knows Omira personally and went to go visit him in the hospital after the incident.

"He's recovering, he's in good spirits. I went and saw him in the hospital. He was in a lot of pain physically," the student said.

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Authorities say Omira believes he was intentionally targeted because of a shirt he was wearing which had Arabic writing on it.

The sheriff's office says the suspect also shouted racially motivated things at Omira before hitting him.

"He said he recognized that person as someone who had antagonized him and antagonized others during protests here at Stanford for the Palestinian cause," the student said.

The students who are out protesting say they're not just worried about their classmate who was hit.

They also tell me they have concerns this could happen again and to somebody else.

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Those fears could be well founded.

"We're tracking an over 200% increase in complaints that we have received in the last 30 days as compared to years past," said Zahra Billoo.

Billoo works with the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

She says Islamophobic incidents over the past month rival the numbers seen in the aftermath of 9/11.

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Billo tells ABC7 News, CAIR think it's only the surface.

"Not everybody reports every incident. Some people report to different organizations. Other people don't report out of fear of further intimidation and targeting," she said.

And given that the Israel-Hamas war shows no sign of stopping any time soon, CAIR says they worry things could get even worse.

"Minute by minute it has been heart wrenching. Everyone I know is crying at different points in the day," Billoo said.

The Sheriff's Office is asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or anyone with any information in this active investigation to call the Sheriff's Office at 408-808-4500. Alternatively, anyone can contact the Sheriff's Office Investigative Services anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431. Attached below is a sketch of the suspect as well as stock photos of a similar vehicle.

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