San Francisco Hit & Run Driver Called Himself a Terrorist

***Updated – Rush read from this post!***

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After Omeed Aziz Popal was arrested he referred to himself as a terrorist. But the police appeared to have ignored his statements and said it had nothing to do with terrorism.

Check out the KTVU News report courtesy of Jihad Watch.

Update: LGF has the video as well, but of just the last portion which has the reporter saying that a witness told him that the suspect referred to himself as a terrorist.

The explanation so far is that Popal is mentally unstable and may have snapped after his arranged marriage:

The driver in a bloody hit-and-run spree that killed one man and injured more than a dozen people was mentally unstable and feeling stress from a recent arranged marriage, according to relatives.

Omeed A. Popal, 29, was taken into custody Tuesday following a rampage that terrorized pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. Authorities believe it began more than an hour earlier when his black Honda Pilot fatally struck a man in the East Bay area.

“He drove on sidewalks, streets, hit people on crosswalks. It runs the gamut,” said police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens.

Popal was arrested on suspicion of 14 counts of attempted murder and a charge of willful flight after causing serious injury or death, Gittens said.

A woman who identified herself as Popal’s cousin said he had been having recurring nightmares about someone coming to kill him and had been taking medication.

“He thought the devil was coming to him,” said Zargona Ramish, who went to the family’s home Tuesday afternoon while Popal’s relatives were speaking with police. “He is a very good person. He is not like that. What’s wrong with him?”

Another cousin, Hamid Nekrawesh, said a recent arranged marriage in Afghanistan, where his family is from, may have contributed to Popal’s problems.

“The kid grew up here. He wasn’t used to the lifestyle in Afghanistan. I’m sure that put a lot of pressure on him,” Nekrawesh said.

Yet, officials close to the case say he has shown no signs of mental illness:

A source close to the investigation in San Francisco, however, said Popal showed no signs of mental illness or remorse in his initial interviews with authorities. Popal reportedly told police that he had run down pedestrians “because he just wanted to.”

His cousin said that his experiences in Afghanistan may have had an effect on him:

Another cousin, Hamid Nekrawesh, said a recent arranged marriage in Afghanistan, where his family is from, may have contributed to Popal’s problems.

“The kid grew up here. He wasn’t used to the lifestyle in Afghanistan. I’m sure that put a lot of pressure on him,” Nekrawesh said.

And what kind of Afghan lifestyle is Popal’s cousin referring to?

More from the Mercury News:

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 iswaiting for a visa.

Usually those with visa issues talk to immigration officials, not viciously run down innocent people.

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.

The bride’s family didn’t allow the couple to meet or talk before the wedding, Nekrawesh said.

“The only thing would be some kind of mental pressure,” Nekrawesh said, adding that Popal seemed happy before leaving for Kabul. “The lifestyle is very different in Afghanistan.”

His family members keep attributing “culture shock” to Mr. Popal’s behavior. What did he see or do over in Afghanistan that would cause him to come home and suddently have the urge to hunt down innocent Americans with his SUV?

Update: Rush read from this post today! It was just the first few lines, but hey, it’s MahaRushie, the Doctor of Democracy! Woo hoo!

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