CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A man who admits that he intentionally plowed into nine people on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus last week told authorities he was disappointed that more people were not around when he carried out the attack.
In a search warrant released Tuesday, Mohammed Taheri-azar also told authorities that for two years, he had been thinking about some type of attack because "the United States government had been killing his people across the sea."
Taheri-azar said he had been carefully planning Friday's attack for two months and had rented the Jeep Cherokee that he drove on campus so that he could "run over things and keep going."
According to the warrant, Taheri-azar also told authorities he had been armed with pepper spray and a knife in the event that he was threatened or trapped.
In a 911 call released Monday, Taheri-azar told a dispatcher shortly after the attack that an explanation for his actions could be found in a one-page letter that would be found on his bed in his Carrboro apartment.
Although the search warrant doesn't say what Taheri-azar wrote, it does show what was taken in addition to the letter: two Navy SEAL Team Combat course videotapes, an application and paperwork for a gun permit, and a computer, among other items.
Authorities said Taheri-azar has repeated similar sentiments about the reasoning behind the attacks, saying his actions were an attempt to punish the government and to avenge the deaths of Muslims across the world.
During his first court appearance Monday, where he was appointed a public defender, Taheri-azar did not deny the accusations against him.
Leaving court, he told reporters, "The truth is my lawyer." And when asked if he was trying to kill people, Taheri-azar said yes.
A native of Iran, Taheri-azar has lived most of his life in the United States, living in Charlotte with his mother and sister. His mother had been a real-estate agent until the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when she quit to do humanitarian work. Friends said she has been teaching English in Afghanistan.
Currently in Raleigh's Central Prison under a $5.5 million bond, Taheri-azar, has been charged with nine counts of attempted first-degree murder and nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious bodily injury.
The FBI is also investigating the attacks, but has not said whether federal charges would be filed.