A New Yorker accused of hitting several people with his U-Haul truck has claimed the rampage unfolded after he saw an “unseen object” coming his way.
Weng Sor, 62, is facing murder and multiple attempted murder charges after he hit cyclists and pedestrians in Brooklyn’s busy Bay Ridge neighborhood on Monday. The attack, which took place 48 minutes before Sor’s truck was pushed against a building by police, left one dead and eight others injured.
It has since emerged that Mr Sor was jailed in Las Vegas back in 2015 for stabbing his brother, according to KLAS-TV. Records from the period state that he was suffering from an “unknown type(s) of mental illness for which he is taking medication”.
During a Tuesday news conference, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said that Mr. Sor reportedly told officers to shoot him when he was eventually arrested. He also reportedly told authorities that he started plowing into pedestrians because he “had had enough” after seeing an unseen object.
“We believe that Mr. Sor was suffering from a mental crisis,” Essig said.
Mr Sor was charged on Wednesday Spectrum News reported. His attorney requested a mental health assessment before the suspect can file a plea.
A judge also placed him on suicide watch pending evaluation.
The incident, around 11 a.m. Monday, was described by New York City Council member Justin Brannan as a deliberate “shooting spree.” Police said the U-Haul truck was rented in late January this year by Mr. Sor, who has a Nevada driver’s license.
New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell said during a news conference Monday afternoon that there was no indication it was terrorism.
Officials announced late Monday night that one victim had died in hospital. The New York Post reported that the fatal victim was a 44-year-old man who was hit while riding an electric bike on Bay Ridge Parkway and 5th Avenue.
Records obtained by KLAS show that Mr. Sor was imprisoned in Nevada for one to three years for the stabbing of his brother in 2015, ultimately serving 16 months. Separately, Mr Sor is said to have stabbed his roommate in the arm in November 2020.
Local police said he was “pacing up and down the driveway talking to himself about communism” before the attack.
The judge in that case found him unfit to stand trial and sentenced him to one year in prison.