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Police: 1 dead, 13 hurt in hit-and-run spree

One person was killed and at least 13 injured when a man intentionally targeted pedestrians with his sport utility vehicle on both sides of San Francisco Bay, according to police.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A driver targeted pedestrians on both sides of San Francisco Bay with his sport utility vehicle, killing one man and injuring at least 13 people, authorities said.

"He drove on sidewalks, streets, hit people on crosswalks. It runs the gamut," said Sgt. Neville Gittens, spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

The man was arrested when police boxed him in with their cruisers around 1 p.m. Tuesday after he struck people in 12 different locations around the city.

The driver's name was not immediately released, but Department of Motor Vehicles records show the license plate on the SUV registered to Omeed A. Popal of Fremont. An aide to the mayor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the open investigation said Popal was the suspect in custody.

The spree began around noon in Fremont, where an unidentified man walking along the side of the road was hit by a black Honda SUV. He was thrown into a field and pronounced dead at the scene, Sgt. Chris Mazzone of the Fremont police said.

Witnesses said the driver did not slow down.

He then crossed the bay into San Francisco, where he injured at least 13 people during a 20-minute hit-and-run spree, police said.

‘Beyond imagination’
The victims were taken to three area hospitals. One was in critical condition at San Francisco General, where Mayor Gavin Newsom met with victims and their families.

"These are the things, these are so senseless. They're utterly inexplicable. They're impossible to rationalize," Newsom said afterward. "The fact that this individual felt compelled for whatever reason to be determined to do what he did is beyond imagination."

The rampage ended when police arrested the man in the city's Presidio Heights district. The black Honda Pilot was still in the middle of the street there an hour later, its front end and windshield smashed in.

The mayhem left a scattered trail on sidewalks and streets. White sheets covered a bloodstained patch of concrete. A broken pair of eyeglasses lay in the middle of the road among a collection of evidence markers. And a lone running shoe sat on the asphalt cordoned off by yellow tape.

Victims age 13 to 84
Some of the injured were pedestrians and some were motorists. The victims included a 13-year-old, according to the mayor's aide, and an 84-year-old, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Barclay Lynn, 39, of San Francisco, said she and a friend saw the SUV driving away after hitting a motorcyclist.

The SUV "went speeding in reverse on Bush (Street) heading west, weaving in and out of traffic," she told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The whole right side of his SUV was smashed in."

No weapons were found on the suspect, though the car had not been searched, Gittens said. There was no information on whether drugs or alcohol were involved, and it was unclear how fast he was driving, he said.