(ed. note: watch out; B-Rose drives a Jeep)
March 8, 2006
Defendant Offers Details of Jeep Attack at University
By BRENDA GOODMAN
The man charged with nine counts of attempted murder for driving a Jeep through a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last Friday told the police that he deliberately rented a four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could "run over things and keep going," according to court papers released yesterday by investigators.
Details in the search warrant for the Carrboro, N.C., apartment of the defendant, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, suggest that he had planned his actions for months and was disappointed the attack had not done more damage. None of the nine people who were struck by the Jeep Grand Cherokee as they were standing in a campus commons area known as the Pit were seriously injured.
According to statements taken by the police, Mr. Taheri-azar, 22, an Iranian-born graduate of the university, felt that the United States government had been "killing his people across the sea" and that his actions reflected "an eye for an eye."
He also told investigators he had been thinking about taking some kind of retaliatory action for two years and had been planning last Friday's attack for two months, the warrant said. He said he was disappointed that more people were not in the commons around noon, when the area is typically crowded, and he told a detective, Matthew Dodson, that he rented the four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could inflict as much damage as possible.
Items confiscated in the search of Mr. Taheri-azar's apartment included computer equipment, an application for a gun permit and two Navy Seals training videotapes. Officers also found two cans of pepper spray and a five-inch folding knife that Mr. Taheri-azar said he had planned to use if he was cornered or threatened in the attack.
Shortly after driving through the lunchtime crowd, he drove to a side street and called 911 to turn himself in. Investigators have described him as being polite and cooperative as he was taken into custody.
Students and teachers continued to try to make sense of last week's violence, struggling with whether to label it terrorism or the actions of one disturbed individual. University officials said they thought Mr. Taheri-azar had acted alone. The F.B.I. has opened an investigation of him, but a spokesman declined to describe the nature of that inquiry.
On Monday, Mr. Taheri-azar smiled as he walked into the Orange County Courthouse, where he was charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Mr. Taheri-azar, who is being held on a $5.5 million bond, told the judge he was "thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah," The Associated Press reported.