Police and road crews work the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — A former U.S. Army sharpshooter with a history of PTSD plowed his car at high speed into a group of pedestrians in a quiet Silicon Valley suburb, injuring eight people including three children, and then told authorities that he intentionally hit them but has not said why.

Police in Sunnyvale, California, said Wednesday that Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, was being held on eight counts of attempted murder. Four of the victims remained hospitalized with major injuries, including a 13-year-old girl in critical condition.

A witness, 72-year-old Don Draper, said he watched in horror as Peoples' car sped through a crosswalk in a Sunnyvale shopping area Tuesday evening and bodies went flying. It was a warm night, around dinner time and people were out in cafes and restaurants in the area.

"I saw this woman fly through the air right in front of me. She flipped upside down and then fell right in front of my car," Draper said, adding that he was so enraged, he marched over to Peoples' car, which had swerved onto a sidewalk and crashed into a tree. He said Peoples did not appear drunk but looked dazed and was mumbling over and over, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus."

Sunnyvale police Capt. Jim Choi said authorities were still trying to determine a motive. There was no evidence linking Peoples to any terrorist organization but the crash was deliberate, he said.

"He did intentionally try to run over the people," Choi said. "He did not express any remorse, as far as we can tell."

Choi said authorities were processing evidence found in a search of Peoples' Sunnyvale apartment on Wednesday and had given him a blood test to determine if drugs were in his system. They were investigating accounts from family members that Choi had a history of mental illness.

Family and friends described Peoples as a quiet and polite person and expressed shock.

His mother, Leevell Peoples of Sacramento, said she couldn't imagine any situation in which her mild-mannered son would deliberately crash into innocent people other than something related to the post-traumatic stress disorder she said he experienced after serving as an Army sharpshooter in Iraq.

"Unless the car malfunctioned, he would not have done that. He's like the perfect, model citizen," she said.

She said her son graduated from Sacramento State University after returning from Iraq in 2007.

He was working as an auditor for the Department of Defense in nearby Mountain View.

"He basically probably has no friends but the people he works with," she said. "He's an Army vet, he's a good kid, never been arrested. I promise you: It was not deliberate. If anything, it was that Army."

She said Peoples had "a bad episode" with PTSD in 2015 and has told her that he had been regularly taking medication since then.

The mother said the Army forced her son to retire because of PTSD. Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col Carla Gleason confirmed Wednesday that he retired from the U.S. Army.

Another Pentagon spokesman, Lt. Col. Emanuel Ortiz, said that Peoples had served as a civil affairs specialist in the Army Reserve from March 2004 to July 2009 and attained the rank of Sergeant, and he was deployed to Iraq from June 2005 to May 2006. He did not answer questions about whether Peoples' departure from the army was due to PTSD.

Choi said police were investigating the PTSD report.

Other witness statements matched Draper's recollection that the driver was speeding and drove directly toward the pedestrians without trying to veer away or stop in the city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of San Francisco.

The crash happened at a major intersection in an area with commercial strip malls that residents described as a quiet California suburb.

Six people were taken to hospitals, including the youngest victim, a 9-year-old boy who was treated and released with minor injuries. A 15-year-old boy was treated and released by paramedics.

Peoples' former housemate Chuck Herrera described Isaiah Peoples as quiet — someone who had to be coaxed into going out for drinks or dinner. He said Peoples was polite and kind and sweet to Herrera's toddler son.

He recalls Peoples "always had a lot of pills" and a cough.

"The guy I met was not someone who you think will hurt someone," he said. "My guess is something happened."

The FBI is assisting California officials in the investigation.

___

Williams and Har reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writer Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed to this report.

This April 23, 2019,  image from video provided by KGO-TV, shows the scene of a car crash where several pedestrians were struck and injured in Sunnyvale, Calif. The FBI says it's assisting California officials in the investigation of a motorist who appeared to deliberately plow into the group of people. (KGO-TV via AP)
This photo released Wednesday, April 24, 2019, by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety shows Isaiah Joel Peoples. Police in Northern California have identified the man arrested after he allegedly deliberately plowed into a group of people. The Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety says 34-year-old Peoples, of Sunnyvale, Calif., was arrested Tuesday. (Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety via AP)
A police officer escorts pedestrians across El Camino Real near the scene of car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police and road crews work to clean up the scene after a car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police investigate the scene of car crash at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Road in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police stand outside an apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police stand outside an apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police stand outside an apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police approach the apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of a crash in Northern California that injured several pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of the car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into the group. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer Kira Reid secures the perimeter at the apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of a crash in Northern California that injured eight pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of a car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into them. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police approach the apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of a crash in Northern California that injured eight pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of a car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into them. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Police work the apartment complex believed to be associated with a car crash suspect in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Investigators are working to determine the cause of a crash in Northern California that injured eight pedestrians on Tuesday evening. Authorities say the driver of a car was taken into custody after he appeared to deliberately plow into them. (AP Photo/Cody Glenn)
Leevell Peoples glances at a photo of her son, Isaiah Peoples, taken while he was in the Army, at her home Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Isaiah Peoples, 34, was taken into custody by Sunnyvale Police after he allegedly deliberately plowed into a group of people injuring them on Tuesday. Leevell Peoples says her son is a
Leevell Peoples says her son, Army veteran Isaiah Peoples, experienced post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, during an interview at her home Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Isaiah Peoples, 34, was taken into custody by Sunnyvale Police after he allegedly deliberately plowed into a group of people injuring them on Tuesday. Leevell Peoples says her son is a