Woodfield Mall SUV Driver Charged With Terrorism
Javier Garcia, 22, was charged with terrorism early Sunday morning after allegedly plowing his speeding vehicle through an unprotected Sears entryway and straight into Woodfield Mall.
Garcia, a Palatine resident, had apparently been staking out Woodfield Mall in the days leading up to his SUV attack.
The Palatine man's motive is still not certain according to police, but new details of his alleged research portray what happened as a planned attack.
Investigators say they examined the history on Garcia's cell phone and determined that he "searched Woodfield mall, the aerial view of the mall and mall premises 124 times between 9/19/19 at 14:38 - 9/20/19 at 12:55."
Garcia's research focused on Sears 35 times police said, and that was the store that witnesses said he rammed his SUV through to gain entrance to the mall. The vehicle plowed through two sets of double-glass doors leading into Sears.
More than a dozen searches were of the street and aerial pictures of the mall, police said.
Authorities said that Garcia first walked into the mall, through the Sears entrance, and exited to the parking lot. Four minutes later they allege he drove the SUV "at an exceedingly high rate of speed" through the doors and into the mall. They said he narrowly missed children riding a train in the mall and at one point had to put the vehicle into reverse so that he could continue on the rampage.
"Police believe Garcia acted alone, no motive has been determined" investigators said Sunday. "Garcia was released from AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute on Friday (September 27) and transported to the custody of Schaumburg Police" they said.
The driver said nothing to explain himself and what happened when he was taken into custody-although on Sunday investigators said that he admitted driving his vehicle through the mall. Bystander photos show him glassy-eyed but not violent or threatening.
Other than First Degree Murder, in Illinois a Class X felony is the most serious charge a person can face. If convicted of the terrorism charge, prison is mandatory under state law. Garcia could be sentenced to 6 to 30 years in the penitentiary.