Man Who Drove SUV Though Chicago Shopping Mall Charged with Terrorism

It doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense, but the Chicago area man who drove his SUV through a crowded shopping mall has now been charged with terrorism.

On Sept. 20, Javier Garcia, 22, of Palatine, Illinois, smashed his SUV through an outside entrance to the Woodfield Shopping Mall and slowly dove through the lower concourse, chasing shoppers as he went.

Woodfield is a suburban city just west of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and about 30 miles west of downtown Chicago.

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A number of videos of the incident made by shocked shoppers were posted to social media.

The man was arrested with no further resistance. But on Sunday, officials announced that Garcia was denied bail and charged with terrorism.

According to the Village of Schaumburg’s Facebook page, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office authorized the charges.

“The police investigation revealed Garcia was acting alone,” the Schaumburg police said in a statement. “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.”

“Under Illinois law, the Class X felony of terrorism can apply if the suspect is believed to have caused more than $100,000 in damage to any building containing five or more businesses, according to a statement issued by Schaumburg Police Sgt. Karen McCarthy,” Fox News reported.

Charges of “terrorism” seem a bit overblown in this case. The video does not seem to show that Garcia intended to run shoppers down with his errant drive through the mall. And he was arrested with no further incident and without spouting any slogans or rhetoric.

The police don’t exactly have a motive for Garcia’s strange behavior, either.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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