Omeed Aziz Popal SUV rampage
Omeed Aziz Popal, originally of Afghanistan, struck 18 pedestrians and killing one in the San Francisco Bay Area with his black Honda Pilot SUV on August 30, 2006. Popal was 29 at the time of the attack. In 2008, a San Francisco judge ruled Popal not guilty by reason of insanity and committed him to a state psychiatric facility. According to the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, Popal was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had a history of severe mental illness. He had been involuntarily committed for mental treatment twice within the six months before the attacks.
Attack and the victims
The first person to be attacked, Stephen J. Wilson, 54, was struck in Fremont, California, and died at 11:50 am. Another victim was hospitalized in critical condition.
Popal struck two men at the intersection of Sutter and Steiner Streets in San Francisco. He passed through the intersection again in an attempt to hit the men a second time—and then a third time—before moving on.
A witness said he saw one victim's body "thrown 25 feet." Multiple witnesses and victims said that the driver appeared to be aiming for people, intentionally hitting them.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called Popal's actions "malicious and hateful". He commended authorities and offered his condolences to the victims and their families. He further said that "acts of hate such as this will not be tolerated in California".
In a column read on air by Rush Limbaugh, Debbie Schlussel did not believe his family's explanation that he was upset over a stressful arranged Muslim marriage and declared it was the third incident of "islamic terrorism by auto" that year. She compared it to the Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar SUV attack, and Ali R. Warrayat, a Palestinian Jordanian Muslim who drove his car into a Home Depot in Arizona.
- CBS 5: Popal to be arraigned in SF Thursday, August 30, 2006
- CBS 5: POPAL CHARGED WITH MURDER IN ALAMEDA COUNTY, August 31, 2006
- Omeed Popal Found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity, San Francisco Public Defender's Office, July 31, 2008
- San Francisco Chronicle: Driver's rampage: The Human Toll: The Victims: 'No pattern' in targets of rampage, August 30, 2006
- San Jose Mercury News: A life of 'what-ifs', November 22, 2007.
- CBS 5: Update: Police name suspect in hit-and-run spree, August 29, 2006
- August 30, 2006 Islamic Terrorism By Auto: 3rd Incident in a Year; “Living While Infidel