By Jessica Easthope and Joseph De La Cruz
Police charged an apparently distressed man with one count of second-degree murder, and seven counts of attempted murder, the day after he allegedly drove a U-Haul box truck into nine people, killing one of them, on Monday, Feb. 13.
Law enforcement officials say Weng Sor, 62, went on a vehicular rampage across three Brooklyn neighborhoods that lasted more than an hour, hitting multiple victims, including one police officer, with the rented truck.
“We believe Mr. Sor was suffering from a mental health crisis,” NYPD Chief James Essig said at a press conference on Tuesday. “At this time there is no nexus [linking the incident] to terrorism.”
Essig said the suspect may have been triggered by a delusional episode he had while operating his vehicle.
“He states when he’s driving his van, he sees an invisible object come towards the car. And at that point he says, ‘I’ve had enough.’ And he goes on his rampage.”
Authorities said Sor told police “you should have shot me,” after he was placed under arrest.
Police refused to say whether Sor was on any medication during the ordeal but did say family members confirmed he was in fact off of his medication.
Sor began his path of destruction at 10:20 a.m., hitting one victim on his bicycle in the Sunset Park neighborhood and taking off, according to police. He then drove south through the nearby neighborhoods of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights before making a U-turn and heading north via the Gowanus Expressway.
He was finally boxed in by NYPD vehicles on Hamilton Avenue and Columbia Street near the the entrance to the Battery Park Tunnel.
One victim, a 44 year-old man whose name police did not release during a press conference on Tuesday, succumbed to his injuries after he was mowed down by Sor while riding his bike on Bay Ridge Parkway at Fifth Avenue. Another victim remains in critical but stable condition at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn.
The injuries sustained by the remaining victims include broken bones, cuts and bruises, with the police officer suffering an injury to one of his legs.
Sor is originally from the Las Vegas, Nevada area where he has a lengthy rap sheet that includes several battery charges, including two for battery with a deadly weapon in 2017 and 2020.
He was also arrested on February 5th, a week before, in South Carolina while on transit to New York for reckless driving and marijuana possession.
Police believe he came to Brooklyn to visit his estranged wife and son, who live within the vicinity of the area where the carnage took place, after renting his U-Haul vehicle from Florida for a month.