An army veteran who rammed his car into pedestrians in Sunnyvale, California this week was targeting Muslims, according to police, ONA reports citing Anadolu agency.
The attack happened on Tuesday, which left eight people injured. Of those, a 13-year-old girl is in critical condition.
The driver, identified as Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, "intentionally targeted the victims based on their race and his belief that they were of the Muslim Faith," said Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety on Friday.
Peoples, who was arrested at the scene, is charged with eight counts of attempted murder.
He was ordered held without bail at his first appearance in court Friday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
"The defendant said nothing during the brief appearance in Judge Richard Loftus’ courtroom at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose," the newspaper said.
Prosecutors have not filed hate crime charges in the case, but such charges would be filed so "if the investigation yields enough evidence," Chief Assistant District Attorney Jay Borarsky told the newspaper.
"There is very appalling, disturbing evidence that at least one or two of these victims were targeted based on the defendant’s view of what their race or religion may have been," he said. "We have zero tolerance for any sort of hate crime."
The newspaper said Chuck Smith, Peoples’ attorney, disputed the accusations and said his client did not intentionally run down anyone.