A 26-year-old Valencia man was charged with premeditated attempted murder, child abuse and other felony offenses on allegation of hitting several children with his car as they walked to a Santa Ana elementary school.
His vehicle was later found with several "incendiary devices" inside.
Jason Carlos Guzman, 26, was charged with seven counts each of felony premeditated murder and assault with a deadly weapon and three counts each of felony hit and run with injury and child abuse, the Orange County district attorney's office said Tuesday in a news release. He was also charged with a felony count of possession of a flammable liquid and one misdemeanor count each of brandishing a deadly weapon and hit and run with property damage.
The charges stem from a bizarre and dangerous series of events that occurred at and around Taft Elementary School on Monday morning.
Around 8 a.m., Guzman allegedly told a staff member that he was going to use the school's bathroom. The staff member denied him entry and told him to leave, the district attorney's office said.
Guzman then entered a red sedan and began to drive off, allegedly hitting a parking barrier in the school's parking lot before he accelerated onto a sidewalk and hit a group of children walking to school.
"Three of the children — an 11-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl, and a [then] 6–year-old girl — flew into the air after being hit by the vehicle," the district attorney's office said. The incident occurred one day before the 6-year-old's birthday.
The three children were transported to a local hospital and discharged Wednesday, said Santa Ana Police Sgt. Maria Lopez.
The suspect then hit an SUV carrying a woman and her 11-year-old daughter, officials said.
A mother who had followed Guzman from the school attempted to confront the 26-year-old who reportedly brandished a knife. The woman returned to her vehicle uninjured.
When Santa Ana Police arrived, Guzman was bleeding from what appeared to be a self-inflicted stab wound to his stomach, officials said. He was transported to a local hospital, where he remains as of Thursday afternoon.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department searched the vehicle and found "several containers of flammable liquid," the district attorney's office said.
Lopez said the devices appeared to be Molotov cocktails.
If convicted of all counts, Guzman faces a maximum sentence of 49 years to life plus six years in state prison and one year in Orange County jail.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.