CHICAGO — A man accused of driving an SUV through a suburban Chicago shopping mall has been indicted on charges of terrorism and criminal damage to property.
The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports Cook County prosecutors announced the indictment Friday against 23-year-old Javier Garcia of Palatine.
Officials said Garcia smashed a black SUV through Sears and into the suburban mall on Sept. 20, creating a panic as people ran for safety. Garcia was arrested on the scene.
He was charged with terrorism and criminal damage to property. Police believe Garcia was not targeting any specific person or business. No major injuries were reported in the incident.
The FBI and Schaumburg police said Garcia does not have any ties to terrorist organizations. His attorney said he doesn’t have a criminal record.
Garcia’s sister Noemi Garcia said her brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia three years ago and has bipolar disorder.
She said her brother voluntarily admitted himself into mental health clinics. He was released from one of those clinics the day before he drove into the mall. She said he was never violent.
“I don’t think my brother belongs in jail,” she said. “He needs a place he can get his medications and treatment he needs.”
Garcia is being held without bail in Cook County jail.
He’s due to be arraigned on Oct. 30.