Sunnyvale crash suspect: DA's office still considering hate crime charges

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Friday, May 17, 2019
Sunnyvale crash suspect: DA's office still considering hate crime charges
Isaiah Joel Peoples faces eight counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors are still determining if they will file additional, hate-crime charges.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The man accused of intentionally plowing his car into a crowd of pedestrians in a Sunnyvale crosswalk last month appeared in court Thursday afternoon. Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, faces multiple charges, including eight counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors with the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office believe the Army veteran was on his way to Bible study when he drove his Toyota Corolla into a busy crosswalk at El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Avenue.

RELATED: Isaiah Peoples worried about job before 'intentional' Sunnyvale crash

Investigators from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety say Peoples intentionally targeted some of the victims based on their race, as well as his belief that they were of the Muslim faith.

He has yet to enter a plea and will return to court at the end of the month.

"At that time, we'll have a decision as to whether we're going to file additional charges, in particular, the hate crime charges, that may or may not be alleged in this crime," said Deputy District Attorney Carlos Vega.

Family members are adamant that Peoples suffers from PTSD as a result of his previous military deployment overseas and is not a racist.

RELATED: Here's what we know about Isaiah Peoples and the Sunnyvale car crash on El Camino

Investigators believe the crash was deliberate based on the lack of skid marks at the scene.

ABC7 News has learned a 13-year-old girl remains in critical condition at Valley Medical Center in San Jose. One adult is still hospitalized, but six other victims have been treated for their injuries and released.

Peoples' attorney previously told ABC7 News his client's mental state will be a critical factor in the case.