Prosecutors double-down on accused Woodfield Mall SUV attacker

A 23-year-old northwest suburban man is now facing two counts of terrorism after authorities say he rammed his SUV through a plate glass door at Woodfield Mall last month and barreled through the shopping center, the ABC7 I-Team has learned.

Javier Garcia, 23, was initially charged in a complaint with one count of terrorism after the Sept. 20 motorized mayhem in Schaumburg. But after the case was presented by Cook County prosecutors to a grand jury, Garcia now ends up facing an additional terrorism charge.

One count alleges that Garcia "knowingly committed a terrorist act" intended to cause death or injury to multiple people and that he did so "with the intent to intimidate a significant amount of the civilian population."

RELATED: Man, 22, charged with terrorism after driving SUV through Woodfield Mall: Police

The second terrorism count in the indictment alleges that he "committed an act that caused substantial damage to a building containing five or more businesses."

Garcia is also charged with a third crime, criminal damage to property.

His attorney has criticized police and prosecutors for "overreaching" in their charges against a young man who allegedly has mental health problems.

RELATED: Woodfield Mall terrorism charge for Javier Garcia too severe, defense attorneys say

It is not uncommon for prosecutors to ask that accused criminals be indicted with multiple violations under the same law. The grand jury indictment was first disclosed last week during a court appearance, but officials did not have access to the actual paperwork at that time. The I-Team was provided a hard copy of the indictment on Wednesday.

Authorities said this case began with Garcia plowing his car through an entrance to Sears at Woodfield Mall at an "exceedingly high rate of speed." Video from inside the mall shows the SUV careening off of retail carts while patrons run for their lives or jump to safety.

Schaumburg police eventually placed Garcia in custody and he was later admitted to an Amita Health Behavioral Medicine Institute. Investigators said Garcia had researched Woodfield Mall on his phone in the 24 hours prior to the attack. They cited 124 internet searches on the mall that he allegedly conducted.

The Palatine resident is currently being held without bond in Cook County Jail and is next scheduled to be in court a week from Wednesday. His attorney has said that he will enter a plea of not guilty.

On the day of the frightening incident, the I-Team first reported that Garcia's father said his son was "on medicine" for an undisclosed illness.

Earlier this month, Garcia's sister told ABC7 that "my brother is not a terrorist." Noemi Garcia, sister of the accused, said that "the state's attorneys are not taking into consideration his mental illness." She said that he had been hospitalized three times and that, "He's still hearing voices. He's still having suicidal thoughts. He's still not in the right state of mind."

RELATED: Family of Woodfield Mall driver Javier Garcia speaks for 1st time: 'My brother is not a terrorist'

Garcia faces up to life in prison if convicted of the terrorism charges, which are Illinois Class X felonies.

A spokesperson for the Cook County state's attorney on Wednesday declined to comment on the indictment.
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