A man has been charged with terrorism after he drove a black Chevy trailblazer through the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg Illinois (which is a north eastern suburb of Chicago) on September 20th. Woodfield Mall is the largest mall in Illinois and the 13th largest in the country.
The driver, Javier Garcia, crashed his car through the mall entrance in a Sears store before driving into the mall’s common area, causing panic among shoppers. He then crashed into a Forever 21 and hit pillar in the mall, where he was pulled out of the car and arrested and with terrorism charges. According to Schaumburg police, “Terrorism is any act that causes substantial damage ($100,000 in damages) to any building containing 5 or more businesses of any type”. The ordeal caused over $100,000 in damages, and the mall was evacuated. Garcia’s family says he has a history of mental illness which might have contributed to the crash. 4 people had slight injuries from the panic caused by SUV, but no major injuries occurred. Police say they found 124 searches for the mall on Garcia’s phone from the few days before the crash. However, they say he did not appear to be targeting a specific store or person in the attack. Garcia has a history of Paranoia, schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. He also allegedly had hallucinations and heard voices. On September 19th, the day before the incident, Garcia was released from a mental institution. Javier was denied bond by a judge saying that he is a danger to the community.
By Noah Hadfield