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Driver intentionally plowed into pedestrians in California and injured 8 people, police say

Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 17:28:59-04

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — A driver hit a group of pedestrians on a sidewalk in Northern California, leaving eight people injured in what appears to have been an “intentional act,” authorities said.

The incident happened Tuesday evening in Sunnyvale. Police were called to the scene about 6:40 p.m., said Capt. Jim Choi of the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety.

A preliminary investigation shows the pedestrians were on the sidewalk when the black sedan drove into them, he said, describing what happened as an “intentional act.”

Witnesses told police there were no signs that the car attempted to slow down and there was no evidence of braking at the scene, he said. The car eventually crashed into a tree.

“People are just walking to get to these restaurants and food places and grocery stores, rather than getting in their car and driving there,” Shanelle Fioretti told CNN affiliate KGO-TV, describing the area at the time.

A man is in custody and police have contacted the FBI about the driver, according to Choi, who said investigators are considering “all possibilities” in terms of a motive.

The suspect was identified as Isaiah Joel Peoples, a 34-year-old Sunnyvale resident, the public safety department said via Twitter on Wednesday. It’s unclear whether he has been charged or has an attorney. CNN reached out to the public defender’s office to see whether it is involved.

The FBI is assisting local law enforcement in the investigation, according to an agency spokesperson. “Should it be determined that a federal crime was committed, we will become more involved.”

Authorities have not yet identified a nexus to terrorism and the investigation is trending away from that conclusion, a law enforcement official familiar with the incident told CNN Wednesday.

All eight patients are at a local hospital, with several suffering from serious injuries, he said. The youngest victim is 13. It’s unclear if the driver knew any of them.

The incident is believed to be isolated, Choi said. Police have not identified the driver or the victims.

Sunnyvale is about 40 miles from San Francisco.