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Man Charged With Terrorism After Driving SUV Into Woodfield Mall


CHICAGO (CBS)– The 22-year-old man accused of driving an SUV into Woodfield Mall on Sept. 20 has been charged with terrorism.

Police said Javier Garcia, 22, of Palatine was released from AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute and transferred to Schaumburg police custody on Sept. 27. He appeared in Cook County Criminal Court on Sunday, where a judge denied Garcia bond.

Garcia was charged with terrorism, which Schaumburg police confirmed is “any act that causes substantial damage to any building containing (5) or more businesses of any type. Substantial damage means monetary damage greater than $100,000.”

He also faces a felony count of criminal damage to property.

CBS 2 learned Garcia searched “Woodfield Mall” 124 times, including aerial views of the mall and stores including Sears. Included in the total searches, Sears, specifically, was searched 35 times.

Police said an investigation revealed Garcia acted alone and a motive has not been determined.

“Police have no reason to believe Garcia was targeting any specific person and/or store within Sears or Woodfield Mall,” police said in a press release.

An SUV smashed into the mall and drove down the main hallway, slamming into a kiosk and stores on Sept. 20.

Officials from the District Attorney’s Office revealed on Sunday that Garcia narrowly missed the train attraction that had children on it at the time of the incident.

Officials also said there were over 100 calls to police from the time of the incident.

The entrance to Sears is still boarded up and it is unknown when repairs will be made.

The driver hit Forever 21 and crashed into kiosks before slamming into a pole in front of the Clark’s Shoe Store.

Three people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. They were not hit by the car.

Police said several shoppers, including two off-duty officers, stopped the driver from leaving.

Garcia’s attorney said “he’s not a terrorist,” and said he finds the terrorism charges surprising given that the 22-year-old has a history of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and paranoia. He said Garcia is currently being treated for these conditions.

Garcia’s attorney, Amil Alkass, said the 22-year-old lived with his sister and his father and they had been trying to get him treatment.

Garcia will appear in court on Oct. 1.