Sunnyvalle Car-Ramming Suspect Is Iraq Vet With PTSD, Brother Says

By (Barbie Latza Nadeau)
Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety

The man who allegedly intentionally drove his speeding Toyota Corolla into a group of Silicon Valley pedestrians, injuring eight, has been identified by a family member as a troubled Iraqi war veteran with a history of suspected post-traumatic stress disorder.

Isaiah Joel Peoples, a 34-year-old government-contract auditor, has been charged with eight counts of attempted murder, The Mercury News reports.

Peoples’ brother told the Bay Area News Group that while Isaiah suffered from bouts of depression, he had not previously been known to be violent. The men’s mother said she had sensed something was wrong the afternoon before the veteran drove his car into the pedestrians, seriously injuring a 13-year-old girl.

“She said the way he was sounding, he was about to have another one of those episodes,” Joshua Peoples told the paper. “He was worried about his job; he wasn’t going to do accounting anymore.”

Peoples was a U.S. Army gunner in Iraq, according to his brother. “He was a gunner when they were driving,” he said, according to local news reports. “Every time he would call us, he was doing security for a post.”

Peoples spent time in mental-health treatment and was on medication, according to his brother. He was once hospitalized after “thinking the government was bugging his house.”

“Sometimes he’d be getting, like, overly religious going through those episodes,” Peoples’ brother said. “One time, when he was going through his PTSD, they said he was saying, ‘I rebuke you, Satan! Get out of here, Satan!’”

A witness to the Sunnyvale crash said Peoples stumbled out of his car after the attack and began ranting, saying “I love you, Jesus.”

It is not immediately known if Peoples was formally diagnosed with PTSD.

“When he got back, I didn’t really notice too much of a change, but there were things my mom and sister told me about that they saw him going through,” his brother said. “They told me he had PTSD.”

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