CommunityPam's House Blend

Freakshow runs over nine pedestrians on UNC campus


I don’t know what to make of this story. A guy plows his Jeep Cherokee through a crowd in Chapel Hill on UNC’s campus — on purpose, that much we know. (Herald-Sun):

Michael Allsep, a doctoral student in history, was one of the first people hit by the car, as he walked across The Pit to a class he teaches.

“He just floored it,” Allsep said. “He was trying to kill me. There was no question.

“He was trying to center me with his hood and run me over at full speed,” he added. “The only thing that saved our lives was that he had to make that slow, 90-degree turn [around Lenoir Dining Hall].”

Allsep rolled off the side of the vehicle, and went to the hospital with a broken wrist, badly sprained knee and several bruises and scrapes. The incident sent five other people — four students and a visiting scholar — to the emergency room at UNC Hospitals, and shocked many more. All of the injured were released Friday.

The lunchtime crowd was building around The Pit when the silver Jeep Cherokee first rolled slowly along one side of Lenoir, and then apparently sped up to what some witnesses guessed was at least 35 miles per hour.

… Like Allsep, several witnesses said they felt the driver was hitting people on purpose, and that his face appeared calm.

“He definitely knew what he was doing,” said Brandon Eagle, a junior. “He was just going dead straight at people standing in front of him, [and] he had the gas down the whole time.”

Eagle said he and fellow junior Chris Young were at one of the tables in front of Lenoir, when they heard screams and the sound of the vehicle accelerating, and then saw someone fly into the air.

Lauren Westafer was sitting at the tables in front of Lenoir when the car sped through, and she sat with friends in the Pit afterward, still shaken and emotional at the image of one of the victims hitting the windshield.

Junior Joe Lewis narrowly avoided the car, while a girl right next to him was hit.

“In my mind, it wasn’t real,” Lewis said. “I can’t get my mind around why somebody would drive at top speed through The Pit, when they knew people would be here.”


The driver’s name is Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, and several news stories report he “allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims.” He fled the scene in the Jeep, but was apprehended by after he called in to 911 to say he was the suspect in the incident, and he was arrested after reporting where he was.

The FBI is now investigating, cautioning that it was premature to attribute the incident to that motive, and the campus Muslim student association condemned the attack. Taheri-azar is charged with at least nine felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. After the melee, the Carrboro apartment complex where Taheri-azar lives was evacuated because of his alleged statements; police believed — incorrectly — that there might be a bomb there.

It sounds like the guy has a screw loose, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the media. WingNutDaily wasted no time coming out of the box with this subtle headline…

GLOBAL JIHAD

Muslim avenger injures 9 in North Carolina rampage
Angry Iranian charged with attempted murder after running down campus crowd with SUV

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding