A man who drove a Jeep Cherokee Laredo into a lunchtime crowd on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus Friday, striking nine people, may have been protesting Americans' treatment of Muslims.Without anything more to go on than the story as reported so far in the press, this *feels* like "lone nut" more than any kind of coordinated action. Just to be on the safe side, Mr. Taheri-azar's apartment complex was evacuated and his apartment searched pretty thoroughly.
Six people had been released from UNC Hospitals by Friday evening. None was seriously injured, university officials said. The three others declined to be treated.
According to the Associated Press, suspect Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, a native of Iran, "allegedly made statements that he acted to avenge the American treatment of Muslims," FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said. "The ongoing investigation will work to confirm this."
Witnesses saw the sport utility vehicle approach The Pit, the student hub outside the Student Union, at 11:53 a.m. The driver accelerated along the edge of the sunken plaza, before speeding away.
And, just as inevitably as the sun setting in the West...
Responding to the speculation that the attack may have been politically motivated, freshman Salma Mirza, member of the Muslim Students Association at UNC, was quoted as saying:
Six hurt as driver plows into students: The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)
"We absolutely condemn any kind of violence," said freshman Salma Mirza 18. "I hope those were not his motivations."Islam is a religion of peace," she added.
Related story from the campus newspaper:
Jeep in Pit Touches Off Frenzied Day - The Daily Tar Heel