Investigators say explosives were found inside the suspect’s car after the collision.
The accident occurred while the children were on their way to a school near Taft Elementary School. Officials said three children were taken to hospital in stable condition. They are all expected to make a full recovery.
Investigators say the driver of the car, later identified by Santa Ana police as 26-year-old Jason Guzman from Valencia, slipped into Taft Elementary School shortly before the collision, at about 8:30 a.m. and requested to use the restroom while he was being carried. backpack, and was escorted off campus.
School staff told Eyewitness News that Guzman was not feeling well and was talking to himself. They said he appeared to be under the influence of drugs.
Guzman then drove off in a red car on Keeler Street, officials say, hitting the three kids on the sidewalk.
Surveillance video from a nearby home captured the red car before Guzman ran to the kids.
“I saw two children on the ground. One of them was in the middle of the street,” said witness and resident Isaias Vasquez. “So I walk up to them to look kind of, take care of them, and see what’s going on. As I walked up to them, I saw an individual with a knife walking toward the group of people. Luckily, he turned away and got back to his car.”
Police arrested Guzman moments later after officials said the 26-year-old stabbed himself in the stomach.
A resident who lives near the scene told Eyewitness News she heard a loud explosion, and neighbors in the area were shocked when they came out and saw what was inside the suspect’s car.
“We noticed a large knife on the passenger side,” Chaturi Kahadua said. “I’m not sure what happened, if he was trying to commit suicide or anything like that, but when he fell to the ground, blood covered his stomach.”
“After hitting the kids, the car kept rolling and collided with another vehicle. I think the car was parked,” the Santa Ana Police Sergeant said. Maria Lopez. “Then he went on and finally stopped, and here our officers called him and the vehicle.”
Police say the suspect was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital in an unknown condition, with a self-inflicted knife wound.
Officials said that while searching the suspect’s car, officers discovered a “suspicious incendiary device” and the Orange County bomb squad was called to help.
Three more Molotov cocktails were found, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.
The elementary school was closed for about three hours. The authorities eventually cleared the school campus and classes resumed.
Police say they don’t know what the 26-year-old from Valencia was doing in Santa Ana.
Santa Ana Police are working with the Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department and the OC Sheriff’s Department on this ongoing investigation.
No further details were immediately known.
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