March 8, 2006
Defendant Offers Details of Jeep Attack at University
By BRENDA GOODMAN
The man charged with nine counts of attempted murder for driving a Jeep
through a crowd at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill last
Friday told the police that he deliberately rented a four-wheel-drive
vehicle so he could "run over things and keep going," according to court
papers released yesterday by investigators.
Details in the search warrant for the Carrboro, N.C., apartment of the
defendant, Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, suggest that he had planned his
actions for months and was disappointed the attack had not done more damage.
None of the nine people who were struck by the Jeep Grand Cherokee as they
were standing in a campus commons area known as the Pit were seriously
According to statements taken by the police, Mr. Taheri-azar, 22, an
Iranian-born graduate of the university, felt that the United States
government had been "killing his people across the sea" and that his actions
reflected "an eye for an eye."
He also told investigators he had been thinking about taking some kind of
retaliatory action for two years and had been planning last Friday's attack
for two months, the warrant said. He said he was disappointed that more
people were not in the commons around noon, when the area is typically
crowded, and he told a detective, Matthew Dodson, that he rented the
four-wheel-drive vehicle so he could inflict as much damage as possible.
Items confiscated in the search of Mr. Taheri-azar's apartment included
computer equipment, an application for a gun permit and two Navy Seals
training videotapes. Officers also found two cans of pepper spray and a
five-inch folding knife that Mr. Taheri-azar said he had planned to use if
he was cornered or threatened in the attack.
Shortly after driving through the lunchtime crowd, he drove to a side street
and called 911 to turn himself in. Investigators have described him as being
polite and cooperative as he was taken into custody.
Students and teachers continued to try to make sense of last week's
violence, struggling with whether to label it terrorism or the actions of
one disturbed individual. University officials said they thought Mr.
Taheri-azar had acted alone. The F.B.I. has opened an investigation of him,
but a spokesman declined to describe the nature of that inquiry.
On Monday, Mr. Taheri-azar smiled as he walked into the Orange County
Courthouse, where he was charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree
murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon. Mr. Taheri-azar, who
is being held on a $5.5 million bond, told the judge he was "thankful for
the opportunity to spread the will of Allah," The Associated Press reported.