Omeed Aziz Popal’s Lawyer Quits; Murder Victim’s Family Grieves

From the Mercury News:

Omeed Aziz Popal, the driver suspected of killing a Fremont man and injuring 14 San Francisco pedestrians in a hit-and-run spree on Tuesday, needs a new attorney.

Millbrae attorney Majeed Samara was retained by Popal’s family, but said today that he decided to hand the case over to the public defender’s office after briefly meeting Popal this afternoon.

“The case is very complicated,” he said. Earlier today, Samara said Popal’s defense would likely require many expensive psychiatrists that he wasn’t sure the family could afford.

San Francisco police are holding Popal in the psychiatric ward of San Francisco County Jail, according to Eileen Hirst, the sheriff’s chief of staff. Police arrested Popal Tuesday after 14 minutes of terror, when officials say Popal drove his black Honda Pilot sport-utility vehicle onto sidewalks and pushed into crosswalks as he mowed down pedestrians on busy city streets around 12:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, Stephen J. Wilson‘s family is grieving:

On Tuesday morning, Stephen J. Wilson, 54, told his longtime girlfriend that he was taking his beloved 1980 Mercedes to a local Fremont mechanic to get some shocks. “I’ll be back,” Wilson told Tessie Ferrer.

Wilson never returned. At about noon Tuesday, the registered nurse was walking home when he was struck and killed by suspected hit-and-run driver Omeed Aziz Popal, 29. Popal never stopped and instead drove on to San Francisco, where he allegedly ran over at least 14 people during a rampage in his Honda Pilot sport utility vehicle, police said.

Today, Ferrer, 51, was struggling to grasp the loss of Wilson, whom she met when both were nurses at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco. Wilson had since transferred to Kaiser in Oakland, where he worked in the emergency room.

“He had a big heart,” she said.

Her nickname for him was “Pooh,” because at one point “he was getting a tummy” that resembled that of Winnie the Pooh. He liked to call Ferrer “Pit” because she could be like a pit bull.

“I’m just kind of overwhelmed right now,” Ferrer told The Chronicle this morning. “I still can’t believe what happened.”

Ferrer said of the suspect, “The person needs help.”

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