The man who plowed his car into mourners at a South Carolina cemetery targeted the graveside service as an act of revenge toward the state agency where the woman being laid to rest had worked, police and local news media said on Thursday.
James Kester, 64, injured 12 people when he intentionally drove his car into a crowd at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia, the state capital, on Wednesday, police said.
He was arrested on a dozen counts of attempted murder. A judge set bail at $5 million after hearing in court on Thursday how the crime unfolded.
According to witnesses, Kester confirmed that the burial taking place was for a former employee of the state’s mental health department before gunning his car through the service, The State newspaper reported.
Police said Kester did not know the woman being buried but held a grudge against her longtime former employer, which had treated his daughter, the newspaper said.
The victims from Wednesday’s crash, aged 11 to 78, were taken to hospitals for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Seven victims were treated and released, and five remained hospitalized, Palmetto Health spokeswoman Tammie Epps said on Thursday.
One victim was in serious condition, and the other four were in fair condition, she said.
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)