The murder and attempted murder suspect accused of slamming a U-Haul truck into a pedestrian, an officer and bicycle, e-bike and moped riders in Brooklyn Monday allegedly told police he witnessed an “invisible object” careening toward his vehicle before taking off on the deadly rampage.
Weng Sor, a 62-year-old Asian male, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and eight counts of attempted murder in connection to the path of destruction that began Monday morning in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a press conference Tuesday.
It continued for more than an hour into Dyker Heights, back into Bay Ridge and eventually ended when NYPD emergency services and highway patrol units stopped the U-Haul by the entrance to Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, which leads to Manhattan, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell added Tuesday.
“Based on interviews with his family members and confirmed when interrogated by members of the New York City detective bureau, we believe Mr. Sor was suffering from a mental health crisis,” Essig told reporters. “At this time, there is no nexus to terrorism.”
NYC U-HAUL RAMPAGE SUSPECT WITH VIOLENT PAST AWAITS CHARGES IN ATTACK THAT KILLED 1, INJURED 8 OTHERS
“He states when he’s driving his van, he sees an invisible object come toward the car and at that point he says, ‘I’ve had enough,’ and he goes on his rampage,” Essig explained. “There was no object – he says, ‘an invisible object came toward my car, and I’ve had enough.’ That was his quote.”
“He does say to the police when he was arrested, ‘you should have shot me,'” Essig added.
Family confirmed to police that Sor was off his medication.
Sor had nine prior arrests stretching back to 2002 for offenses that included a DWI, evading a police officer, battery, resisting arrest, domestic battery and two incidents of battery with a deadly weapon all in Las Vegas, where he resided with his mother, Essig said.
The suspect was estranged from his ex-wife and 30-year-old son before he showed up suddenly at their Brooklyn home last week.
Investigators say Sor left Las Vegas for West Palm Beach, Florida, where he rented the U-Haul on Feb. 1. The vehicle wasn’t due back until March 3. Based on ATM withdrawals, Sor is known to have been in West Palm Beach until Feb. 4 before departing on a road trip toward New York.
His most recent arrest was on Feb. 5 for reckless driving and possession of marijuana in South Carolina, where he was stopped by highway patrol. Sor showed up Feb. 6 at his ex-wife and son’s Brooklyn home to shower and returned on Feb. 8, when he got into an altercation with his son, Essig said.
NYPD highway patrol stopped Sor on the Belt Parkway and issued him a summons for speeding and operating a commercial vehicle on that roadway. The U-Haul was placed In Melbourne, New Jersey, on Sunday evening before Sor returned to Brooklyn, where he launched his deadly rampage the next day.
The nine victims included eight civilians – three on a bike, three on a moped and one on e-bike and one walking – who were all male and ranged from age 30 to 66, and one police officer, who suffered a leg injury when the suspect allegedly rammed the U-Haul into an NYPD patrol car.
Police said the first victim was struck at 10:20 a.m., and the suspect wasn’t taken into custody until 11:24 a.m.
NYPD released dramatic police camera footage showing officers ushering children playing on a nearby street during recess inside the school. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, inside,” an officer says, running toward the children. “Guys, get off the street, let’s go! Get off the street, everybody off the street.” School staff are seen helping to usher the children indoors.
“This is Neighborhood Policing and your officer’s actions further exemplify the NYPD’s unwavering commitment to protecting the communities we serve,” NYPD tweeted, sharing the video.
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N.Y. Daily News identified the only person killed in the attack as 44-year-old YiJie Ye, a single father of three teenagers who emigrated from China roughly two decades ago and was working as a GrubHub delivery driver. NYPD said he was struck on his moped and later succumbed to his injuries.
Another man remains in critical but stable condition after the attack, Essig said Tuesday. New York City Councilman Justin Brannan, who represents Bay Ridge, identified him as Zakaria “Zaki” Salah Rakchi, a married father of two who was on his way to get his taxes done when the U-Haul mowed him down.