NEW YORK - The man alleged to have been behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck that struck multiple people on and off the street in Brooklyn has been charged.
Police say Weng Sor, 62, a man with a significant violent criminal history in Nevada, has been charged with one count of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder.
Police said at a press conference on Tuesday that after interviews with his family members and interrogation, they believe Sor was suffering from a mental health crisis.
Sor allegedly claimed that he started mowing down people after seeing an "invisible object" coming toward the truck and that when he saw it, he decided he'd "had enough."
When he was captured by police, he allegedly yelled "You should've shot me!" at officers.
According to NYPD officials, Sor, who lives with his mother in Las Vegas, traveled to West Palm Beach in Florida on February 1 to rent a U-Haul truck. On February 5th, while traveling through South Carolina, en route to New York, he was stopped for reckless driving and marijuana possession by the highway patrol.
On February 6, Sor arrived at his ex-wife and son's residence, and a few days later on February 8, had an altercation with his son. On that same day, he was stopped by the New York City Highway Patrol and given two summonses, one for speeding and another for having a commercial vehicle on the Belt Parkway. The vehicle was seen again in New Jersey on February 12, before he returned to Brooklyn and went on his rampage.
Sor's rampage stretched over 48 minutes as the truck tore through Brooklyn's bustling Bay Ridge neighborhood, hitting people at several points along the way before veering on and off a highway as police gave chase.
The nine people struck by the vehicle ranged in age from 30 to 66. All were men. One of the injured people was a police officer.
The 44-year-old man who was killed suffered a head injury when he was hit by the truck roughly a half hour after it struck the first victim, the police department said in a statement.
Sor remained in police custody Tuesday. He was expected to be arraigned in court on the charges late Tuesday or on Wednesday. Court records did not list a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.
The truck's winding route ended when a police cruiser cut it off and blocked it against a building near the entrance to a tunnel leading from Brooklyn to Manhattan, more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) from where the chase began.
Weng Sor's son, Stephen Sor, 30, told The Associated Press that his father had a history of mental illness and, until recently, was living in Las Vegas, where records show he was convicted and served time for multiple acts of violence, including stabbing his own brother.
"Very frequently he’ll choose to skip out on his medications and do something like this," Stephen Sor said in an interview outside his Brooklyn home. "This isn’t the first time he’s been arrested. It’s not the first time he’s gone to jail."
Stephen Sor said he was surprised when Weng Sor showed up in Brooklyn in the middle of the night about a week ago. He said they didn't speak often and described their relationship as "rocky."
"I try to just distance, as long as he leaves us alone," Stephen Sor said.
In 2015, Weng Sor stabbed his brother in Las Vegas and served about 17 months in a Nevada prison, according to court and prison records. In 2020, he stabbed someone in the arm and chest with a knife and was sentenced to 364 days in county jail, with about 10 months of time already served.
Before pleading guilty in that case, Sor underwent several months of evaluations at state psychiatric facilities until he was found competent to face charges, court records show. The records don’t list a possible diagnosis, but note that Sor was placed on medications.
In an earlier Nevada case, Sor was ordered to undergo counseling and perform community service after pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery in 2005. The judge noted at the time that Sor was moving to New York and ordered him to submit to a mental health evaluation once there.