Omeed Aziz Popal, in custody for a fatal hit-and-run rampage in San Francisco, has a history of mental problems and suffered an apparent mental breakdown Tuesday on the way to a job interview, family members and his attorney told the San Francisco Chronicle. But those involved in the investigation discount any mental illness, saying the 29-year-old Afghanistan native seemed coherent, unrepentant and claimed that he repeatedly drove at pedestrians because he “just wanted to.”
Popal ran down 15 pedestrians and one bicyclist at 11 locations in San Francisco. The lone fatality was in Fremont, a 54-year-old man hit as he walked along a bike lane in an area without sidewalks. According to his attorney, Popal suffered a breakdown about five months ago and had to be hospitalized. About two months ago, Popal falsely confessed to killing someone in San Francisco.