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US driver targeted family because they looked Muslim

Isaiah J. Peoples appears for his arraignment in Santa Clara County Superior Court as his lawyer, Chuck Smith, stands at his side on Friday, April 26, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. The former U.S. Army sharpshooter Peoples is charged with eight counts of attempted murder after authorities say he deliberately plowed his car into pedestrians Tuesday. (Jim Gensheimer/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, Pool)

A California man who deliberately drove into a crowd of people, injuring eight, did so because he thought they were Muslim, police said Friday.

The driver, 34-year-old Isaiah Peoples, reportedly targeted the family solely on their appearance, according to police in Sunnyvale, near San Francisco, who are now treating the case as a “hate crime”.

“There is new evidence that Peoples intentionally targeted victims based on their race and belief that they were Muslim,” said Sunnyvale Public Security in a statement.

According to local media, three members of the same family are among the eight pedestrians injured Tuesday — a father and his son and daughter.

The nationality and religion of the family have not been released.

A lawyer for Peoples said the incident “was clearly the result of a mental disorder”, and he would seek psychiatric treatment for his client — who he described as a military veteran possibly suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

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