California man who deliberately drove into crowd injuring 8 thought they were Muslims: police chief
Mugshot of Isaiah Joel Peoples

Authorities in Silicon Valley have launched a hate crime investigation into the driver of a car which rammed into a group of pedestrians, NBC Bay Area reported Friday.

"The Sunnyvale police chief says new evidence indicates Isaiah Peoples deliberately drove into a crowd of pedestrians based on race and ethnicity, and believed that some in the group were Muslims," NBC Bay Area noted. The District Attorney is not officially calling it a 'hate crime.'"

Peoples was charged with eight counts of attempted murder.

"Peoples, an army veteran with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder was on his way to a Bible class when he told investigators he intentionally drove into a group of men, women and children, injuring eight people," NBC Bay Area reported, citing police.

"Peoples is a former Army sharpshooter who was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2006," the station reported. "He showed no remorse after his car plowed at high speed into a group of people in a crosswalk on Tuesday evening in the Silicon Valley suburb of Sunnyvale before hitting a tree, Police Chief Phan Ngo said."

The youngest of the eight victims is a 9-year-old boy.

Four of the victims remain hospitalized, with a 13-year-old girl listed in critical condition.