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Omeed Aziz Popal Kills One, Injures 14 in Vehicle Rampage

Yet another incident where a Muslim man goes on a rampage and starts running people over with his SUV.

As many as 14 people were injured [Tuesday] afternoon by a motorist who drove around San Francisco deliberately running them down before being arrested by police, who believe the same driver struck and killed a man earlier today in Fremont. At least one hit-and-run victim remained in critical condition this evening.

Reports of the incidents began pouring in at 12:47 p.m., police said. Within a half-hour, San Francisco police had cornered and arrested 29-year-old Omeed Aziz Popal, who has addresses in Ceres (Stanislaus County) and Fremont.

Authorities suspect Popal was the same driver who ran over and killed a 54-year-old man in Fremont around noon.

The San Jose Mercury News has a particularly bizarre piece under the headline “Relatives: Rampage suspect may have been stressed over wedding.”

Relatives of a Fremont man connected to Tuesday’s deadly driving rampage said he may have been distraught after returning recently from Afghanistan without his newlywed wife who is waiting for a visa.

Omeed Aziz Popal, 29, who sources said was being held by the San Francisco police, was normally a kind and gentle person, said Hamid Nekrawesh, 43, a first cousin in Fremont. But a recent trip to Afghanistan to participate in an arranged marriage could have caused him a lot of stress, Nekrawesh said. “He was a very respectful, quiet, nice guy,” Nekrawesh said. “I’ve never seen him do anything violent.”

Zarghona Ramish of San Jose, who also identified herself as Popal’s cousin, said he had been having strange dreams since returning a month ago from Afghanistan.

Popal lives with his parents, younger brother and two younger sisters in a working-class neighborhood of one-story tract homes in west Fremont, Nekrawesh said. He worked at a Fremont tire store on Mowry Avenue, neighbors and relatives said, and he and his father also sold household items at Bay Area flea markets. He was born in Afghanistan, but came to the United States at a young age. Three months ago, he returned to his home country to marry, relatives said, and his wife’s family was very traditional and strict. “He grew up as a Western boy in the United States and went to Afghanistan to get married culturally over there,” Nekrawesh said. Nekrawesh wondered if the stress of the trip and the culture shock had an impact on Popal, especially given that Afghan weddings are very large, and Popal comes from a large extended family.

Roundups at Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, American Thinker, Daily Pundit, and Secular Blasphemy.

Much speculation, reasonably enough, about whether this is just some nut unable to handle the pressures of life, some act of Muslim terrorism, anti-Semitic homicide (the neighborhood apparently has or had a large Jewish population) or perhaps a combination. My leaning in cases not involving bombs or multiple killers tends to be “nut” until proven otherwise.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. [IMG working] [IMG Outside The Beltway | OTB] Omeed Aziz Popal Kills One, Injures 14 in Vehicle Rampage Matthew Yglesias Consolidates Blog Empire Harry Anderson Leaving New Orleans SAT Scores Drop Reassessing Lacrossegate Rumsfeld Says War Critics Appeasing New Fascism Assimilation or Not? Beltway Traffic Jam

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  2. legion says:

    Another one? Let the race (baiting) begin! Who will demand Muslims lose their drivers’ licenses first – Malkin or LGF?

    PLACE BETS NOW!

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  3. Steve Verdon says:

    Wow Malkin didn’t come out with the jihadi who tries to turn his vehicle into a weapon of mass destruction. I’m shocked.

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  4. [...] Who will ever walk a city street again knowing they are out there and the media has missed it. Can we really call this a case of ““nut” until proven otherwise?” And what will we do in New York, where so many cab drivers are them? Damn them, them with their strange names that should be a clue we should never have gotten in the cab in the first place. If that driver (one of them) goes mad in the cab when we are in it, should we do a “Let’s Roll” moment and crash the cab safely in Midtown Manhattan? There should be no moral confusion. Remember the good old days? ” . . . remember when we had big scary stuff to be afraid of, like global thermonuclear war.” Yeah, even war was easy, back before the days of us versus them. If another driver goes nuts, we will know which media to blame. The ignorant ones who are appeasers for them. [...]

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  5. LJD says:

    I grow tired of your accusations Legion. How about some substantiation to your claims…
    … or shut the hell up.

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  6. Anderson says:

    DWI – Driving While Islamic.

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  7. [...] As such, I am casting my vote with James Joyner: Much speculation, reasonably enough, about whether this is just some nut unable to handle the pressures of life, some act of Muslim terrorism, anti-Semitic homicide (the neighborhood apparently has or had a large Jewish population) or perhaps a combination. My leaning in cases not involving bombs or multiple killers tends to be “nut” until proven otherwise. [...]

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  8. Guest says:

    A better picture of Omeed Popal’s wedding is at:

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/08/one-dead-15-hurt-in-san-francisco-suv.html

    The family’s comment that he was “distressed” following his wedding is presumably a euphemism – given Omeed’s low social status and residence outside Afghanistan, it is quite conceivable that a “fallen woman” was foisted on him.

    If so, Ohmeed may have found out too late (on his wedding night) that his bride was of compromised virginity. He then returned to the Bay Area and presumably went back to seeking solace in fiery jihad DVD’s and instigational sermons at his Fremont mosque.

    The murderous Fremont preachers and their Saudi paymasters will not, of course, be questioned by “move along, nothing to see here” investigators at state or federal level.

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  9. legion says:

    LJD,
    Accusations? Are you Michelle or Charles? Either way, it’s called a “joke”. Get over it.

    Or go read the comments on the thread. Either one is fine.

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  10. Steve Verdon says:

    I wonder what the number is for people who go on driving rampages? Taking events like this simply in isolation and the tendency of the press to hype some stories over others leaves me wondering.

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  11. Fersboo says:

    I heard through the grapevine that he has a history of mental illness and possibly converted to Christianity! Well, not really, but JJ hasn’t called me a dumbass in a couple of weeks and I need the attention.

    He might not belong to a terrorist group, but he belongs to the terrorist wing of the “Religion of Peace”.

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  12. [...] Outside the Beltway: Omeed Aziz Popal Kills One, Injures 14 in Vehicle Rampage [...]

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  13. anjin-san says:

    Not sure how this man’s religion fits into the picture. Mental illness does not respect race, creed or religion.

    Fersboo, I am curious. When a deranged Christian commits murder, do you make snide remarks about “The Prince of Peace?” I doubt it.

    Be careful dude, or sheets will start jumping off of clotheslines and attaching themselves to you when you walk past…

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  14. Fersboo says:

    Nice moral equivalence anjin-san. When the deranged Christian murders an abortionist, he is roundly condemned by those inside and outside the church. There may be some within the church that approve, but given that Christianity expects its adherents to turn the other cheek, I don’t one could construe that Christianity is trying to impose itself via violence. On the other hand, there seems to be more than incidental evidence that Islam, otherwise known as the “Religion of Peace”, preaches its dominance via violence.

    Some would think that a non-religious person as myself(yes, I was raised in the church, but haven’t practiced in quite awhile) would have no bone to pick with a Christian-Moslem conflict. I would argue that isn’t the case since I have no fear that a Christian society in the modern age would subjugate me at the point of a sword.

    Be careful dude, or sheets will start jumping off of clotheslines and attaching themselves to you when you walk past…

    Paint me as a racist all you want, your conduct on this site has lead me to put little value in you opinion.

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  15. Old War Dogs says:

    Up to 14 hurt in SF hit-and-run spree (Updated and bumped)…

    Omeed Aziz Popal. Let’s not going jumping to any conclusions, friends and neighbors. He’s probably Hindu or Quaker or some such thing, right? … I knew it all along. Just a harmless Afghani Quaker. …

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  16. lunacy says:

    I’ve seen your powers of research, Steve. Wonder no more. Do the research to prove what you are aluding to. Or STFU.

    Sure, there is the odd old man who runs off the road. Or the stuck accelorator.

    But I’m wondering when (besides that b@tch in Houston) who deliberately ran people over for no reason.

    Oh yeah, let’s not count that dude in NC.

    Wonder on Steve. Or find out and tells us ALL about it.

    Lunacy

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  17. legion says:

    I don’t one could construe that Christianity is trying to impose itself via violence. On the other hand, there seems to be more than incidental evidence that Islam, otherwise known as the “Religion of Peace”, preaches its dominance via violence.

    Hmmm… Islam was founded in the late 600s. What was Christianity doing around 1400 years after its founding? Oh yeah, murdering, torturing, and forcibly converting Jews, Moslems, and heretics (Protestants).

    Maybe it’s just a phase…

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  18. Fersboo says:

    Hmmm… Islam was founded in the late 600s. What was Christianity doing around 1400 years after its founding? Oh yeah, murdering, torturing, and forcibly converting Jews, Moslems, and heretics (Protestants).

    Maybe it’s just a phase…

    I guess that makes it okay then? Smiles, hugs and pink pony parties for everyone! Well parities till they started killing all the non-believers that is.

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  19. anjin-san says:

    Fersboo,

    How do you know what the reaction is in the Muslim world to a tragedy like this? Do you have Muslim friends who live in the Middle East? Do you speak & read Arabic & Farsi? Have you traveled extensively there?

    My guess is no, you are simply absorbing anti-Muslim propaganda on Fox and parroting it.

    >I have no fear that a Christian society in the modern age would subjugate me at the point of a sword

    Have you studied 20th century history at all?

    As for “my conduct” what conduct is that? Using my right to free speech and to disagree with Bush?

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  20. Fersboo says:

    My guess is no, you are simply absorbing anti-Muslim propaganda on Fox and parroting it.

    A couple of problems here. First, you’re guessing, big mistake. Second, I don’t happen to watch much television, maybe 2 or 3 hours a week, either a movie or sports, which lends itself to the following question. When is FOX supposed to indoctrinate me?

    How do you know what the reaction is in the Muslim world to a tragedy like this? Do you have Muslim friends who live in the Middle East? Do you speak & read Arabic & Farsi? Have you traveled extensively there?

    Very similar to discussions with blacks when they don’t’ like what I am saying. To paraphrase, You are white, how could you possibly know anything about X or Y? I even get these types of questions when the one asking knows that half my youth was spent in the projects (MD projects aren’t quite as bad as CA projects I would wager) and that I should be quite aware of X and Y?

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  21. anjin-san says:

    Fersboo,

    So when I guess about your TV watching habits, its a big mistake.

    When you guess about what Muslims are thinking, it is cool, and its OK for you to insult their religion based on your guessing.

    I note that you have not provided any information about yourself that would lead us to conclude that you do, indeed, have some insight into the Muslim mind beyond what is reported in the mainstream media and on blogs.

    Religious tolerance is another American tradition that the right seems to hate, for reasons that I cannot fathom.

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  22. Fersboo says:

    I note that you have not provided any information about yourself that would lead us to conclude that you do, indeed, have some insight into the Muslim mind beyond what is reported in the mainstream media and on blogs.

    Again, you seem to be utilizing the “It-is-a-Muslim-thing-you-wouldn’t-understand” argument.

    Religious tolerance is another American tradition that the right seems to hate, for reasons that I cannot fathom.

    Tolerance of a religion which wishes to convert at the point of the sword is foolishness by a different name. I doubt very much that you will be able to find many on the right that have an intolerance of the various Christian Protestant denominations, Catholics, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, etc. Many on the right have concerns on what percent of the 1.2billion (CAIR’s number) Muslims are of the violent variety: 10% (120M), 5% (60M), 1% (12M), .5% (6M), .1% (1.2M).

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  23. Steve Verdon says:

    Wonder on Steve. Or find out and tells us ALL about it.

    Well, a brief search of google news shows that there are a fair number of articles on “rampages” in general. Sometimes with a car, sometimes with other weapons. The idea here is that this seems an unlikely terrorist attack. But feel free to conclude it is simply based on this fellows religion.

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  24. lunacy says:

    I’m not going to concede that this incident is “simply based on this fellows religion”. But I’m not going to rule out, out of hand, the possibility that his religion COULD be a contributing factor.

    Neither should you, Steve.

    And please spare me the “you don’t know muslims” BS as is being demonstrated above.

    I spent 4 years rooming with a muslim girl who told me, on our first meeting, that if she asked me to join and I refused 3 times, it was right that she should kill me. That’s what she said her book said.

    Were she not my sister-in-law, seeking asylum from Beruit as a Palestinian, I would have kicked her out on the spot.

    Lunacy

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  25. anjin-san says:

    Fersboo,

    Please provide examples of how Muslims wish to “convert at the point of a sword”.

    As for violence, well lets see. America is waging war on Iraq because we think they have WMD. Oh wait, that’s wrong, its because Saddam is a torturer. Oh wait, we tortured some folks over there too! Oh wait, its because we have to convert Iraq to a form of government we are comfortable with. And of course, we have the RIGHT to do so. Well we say we do, so it must be so.

    Take a look at murder rates in the US and the number of military incursions we have been involved in since the end of WW2. I guess its just easier to point the finger at other folks and say how violent they are then it is to look in the mirror.

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  26. anjin-san says:

    >Tolerance of a religion which wishes to convert at the point of the sword is foolishness by a different name.

    So if someone wants to spread their religion by force, they are evil.

    If someone wants to spread thier concept of government by force, they are good.

    I see. Well actually, I don’t, but them I am not a fanatic.

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  27. LJD says:

    So if someone wants to spread their religion by force, they are evil.

    For once, you are correct, grasshopper.

    If someone wants to spread thier concept of government by force, they are good.

    Perhaps you allude to the spread of democracy. The alternative being a brutal dictatorship? Yeah, those types of governments are just peachy for every one except the dictator and his henchmen.

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  28. anjin-san says:

    LJD,

    Is it “just peachy” to have a loved one die in Bush’s war to stop WMD, oops, I mean to spread democracy? And I remind you that we may not get that outcome.

    You may be comfortable with the blood that is now on our hands, but I am not.

    Speaking of brutal dictatatorships L, how many items in your home come from China?

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  29. nani says:

    I just think it is very ignorant of people to believe that omeed popal’s act of rage had anything to do with terrorism. It is wrong to make such assumptions based on his name and where he came from. We have people getting killed in san francisco and oakland all the time. Why isn’t that called terrorism? I think the guy must’ve been on drugs and was hallucinating and plain sick in the head. I believe that happens amongst whites, blacks and all other races. The terrorists are the sick bastards who molest, rape and kill innocent children of america. Basically, they create monsters. Think about how many millions of our children have been molested and what it has done to there future. A man goes crazy due to drugs(I’m assuming) and his last name is a Muslim one, he’s called a terrorist? Please, people…get your facts straight.

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  30. Ernest Ryan says:

    The carnage that Omeed Popal perpetrated in Fremont and on the streets of San Francisco by intentionally running over innocent people with his SUV is going to be fodder for many theories, especially for those who have something against Muslims or SUVs.

    The fact is, Popal was reported to be mentally unstable, had received psychiatric treatment, was on medication and had been having recurring nightmares about someone coming to kill him. Does that mean he was taking headache, cold or flu medication? No. It means he was most likely taking an antidepressant which would put him in the same class of people as Andrea Yates who was on Effexor when she drowned her children, Eric Harris who was on Luvox when he went on a shooting spree at Columbine, Jeff Weise the young Native American who was on Prozac when he killed ten and wounded many others at Red Lake High School and thousands of other Americans of many races and backgrounds who became violent after taking antidepressants.

    Popal’s actions as reported in the media clearly go to a state of mind. Road rage,”going Postal,” senseless school shootings, and Iraq war veterans who shoot family members and fellow soldiers usually all have one thing in common–they were on antidepressants or similar-acting psychiatric medications.

    The FDA has finally mandated a Black Box warning for all antidepressants to say that they cause suicidal ideation and suicide. Effexor, the antidepressant Andrea Yates was on, now carries the warning that it can cause Homicidal Ideation. That means some people taking this antidepressant are going to feel the urge to go out and kill people. That sure sounds like the state of mind Omeed Popal was in. Those side-effects are not limited to people driving SUVs or of Muslim origins. Look around, this scenario is playing out in every city in America everyday.

    Maybe we should be focused on the pharmaceutical lobby that has kept a lid on this to protect profits just as the tobacco industry kept a lid on smoking causing cancer.

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