Omeed Aziz Popal, 29, who deliberately hunted and ran down 14 pedestrians, was apparently just a little horny, that's all. Popal had recently returned from Afghanistan where he had gone to marry a gal whom he had never seen nor even spoken to. Popal, being a U.S. citizen, unfortunately, had returned home to Fremont, CA but his blushing bride was still in Afghanistan awaiting a visa.
According to family members, upon his return he began experiencing "strange dreams" (no doubt visits from Muhammed or Mohammed or Mahmet or whomever) and then, Monday, went out in his family's SUV and began chasing down and then running down pedestrians. He has killed one, so far, of the 14 that he eventually mowed down. The toll of injured and hospitalized includes a teen on a bicycle and an old man with a cane.
The victim whom he crushed to death with his Honda SUV was walking on a bike path. Now, in most states that would be considered murder, especially since it is obvious that Popal was hunting for victims and running down all he could find. However, Fremont is up there right next to Berkeley/San Francisco. It is no doubt illegal to walk on a bicycle path. So I would imagine that, rather than a first degree murder charge as our Afghan assassin would receive in, say, St. Louis or Indianapolis or Atlanta, he'll be charged with some type of moving violation that carries a 3 month suspended sentence. That is, if the California prosecutor can even get a conviction.
The prosecutor only has about 50 eyewitnesses and a smashed up Honda covered in victims blood, bits of clothing, hair and DNA. The police removed Popal from the vehicle (from the driver's seat, the one located immediately behind the steering wheel). I say that, without a full confession, the prosecutor stands about a 50/50 chance of a conviction for driving left-of-center. With a full confession, the prosecutor's odds improve to 70/30. First degree murder? Out of the question.
Now this is an interesting comparison of descriptions of Popal. His cousin, one Hamid Nekrawesh, 43, said, "He grew up as a Western boy in the United States and went to Afghanistan to get married culturally over there," and "He was a very respectful, quiet, nice guy."
His neighbor, who has lived two doors down from Popal for three years, said, "He never spoke. He never said hello. He was quiet. He never opened his mouth."
Never spoke to his neighbor in three years? Goes to Afghanistan to marry a girl whom he has never spoken to, much less ever seen? Maybe he owns a pair of cowboy boots and a couple pairs of Levis which would, I suppose, qualify him as a "Western boy" in his cousin's eyes. It sounds more to me like another Muslim weird-o who finally snapped and decided to kill some Yankee monkeys and sons of dogs.
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TAGS: Fremont, California, vehicular homicide