Driver accused in rampage said to be mentally distraught — (San Jose Mercury News)

SSRI Ed note: Man in withdrawal from antidepressant gets angry, goes on destructive rampage.

Original article no longer available

San Jose Mercury News

By Katherine Corcoran and Brandon Bailey, Mercury News

Dec 12, 2005

A Sunnyvale man accused of slamming his car into a family of four pedestrians Wednesday allegedly attacked a woman he lived with earlier that morning. “He hated the whole world. He wanted to kill everybody,” the woman said late Thursday.

Yan Liu, also of Sunnyvale, said she believes Ngai Fung Fong, who is now facing multiple charges after a rampage in his car Wednesday, was mentally distraught and told her he expected to be dead by the end of that day just before he left the condominium on East Evelyn Terrace.

He was anxious and depressed and until recently had been taking medication, said Liu, who did not want to disclose her relationship with Fong, except that he had been living with her temporarily for three months.

“I didn’t argue with him at all,” she added, saying they had a nice evening Tuesday night celebrating the Chinese New Year.  “He suddenly changed and lost control and he tried to kill me.”

The rampage, which began just before 1 p.m. Wednesday, left two people hospitalized late Thursday, including a 5-year-old boy in critical condition. Police were also investigating reports that Fong tried to carjack another woman in a gold or brown sedan.

Police said he seemed to hit the family intentionally.

“I feel really sorry for the family. It’s horrible, but his personality is not like that. That’s his illness,” Liu said.

Fong, 37, was booked into Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of at least 12 felonies, including attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, false imprisonment, threatening another person with death or injury, kidnapping, threatening a witness, carjacking and damaging a wireless phone to prevent someone from calling for help. It was unclear if Fong has any prior criminal record. Sunnyvale officers said they have had no previous contact with him.

Police did not release the names of the victims or disclose where they were hospitalized.

Neighbors said a crash and screams broke the early afternoon quiet of East Evelyn Avenue, which is lined with duplexes and condominiums. Many of the nearby residents are from other countries and other parts of the United States and came to work in Sunnyvale’s many high-tech companies.

Fong listed his occupation as an engineer and recently spent a short stint at Webex, according to a leasing office where he put a deposit on a nearby apartment.

According to witnesses, Fong was heading west in the 900 block of East Evelyn Avenue in Sunnyvale when he allegedly jumped the curb and hit a family of four walking with a stroller, wedging them against a parked SUV.

Though the front end of Fong’s car was stuck under the SUV, he managed to pull loose and drive away, heading west. Then he allegedly made a U-turn and drove toward a City of Sunnyvale truck coming out of the intersection of Red Oak and East Evelyn. He stopped short of the truck as Jon Meehan, a maintenance manager for the Roundtree complex on Red Oak, ran after him, screaming  “How could you do that?”

Witnesses said Fong then allegedly took another U-turn and tried to run down Meehan, who sustained injuries and was hospitalized from dodging the oncoming car. Then Fong drove into the SUV and hit the family again. He sped away a third time, then stopped, hopped out of the car and came at the crowd around the family with a large knife, witnesses said.

Dasha Clancey ran outside after hearing the noise and found a distraught mother bent over her two children, who were wedged with a stroller under a parked SUV in Clancey’s driveway.

By the time Clancey got there, the mother, father and an 18-month-old girl seemed to have only minor injuries, but a 5-year-old boy was on the ground, wrapped in a blanket, with scrapes and black marks on his face.

“The stroller got destroyed. There were pieces across the driveway,” said neighbor Stacey Croft, who first saw a white car wedged under the back end of a SUV, then saw it back up and skid past her front lawn.

Zita De Jesus, assistant property manager at Heritage Park Apartment Homes, described Fong as agitated and angry when he came Saturday to rent an apartment. He wouldn’t say why he was moving, telling her only that “I need privacy,” she said.

He put down a deposit, and called De Jesus to say he was on his way to pick up the keys Wednesday just before the rampage took place.

De Jesus said she might have been the original target.

“He was so scary,” she said, adding that she asked co-workers to deal with him when he arrived for the keys. “I told these guys I don’t want to deal with him. I’m scared.”

Police are still investigating the possible carjacking and are asking that anyone with information call (408)-730-7120.

Contact Katherine Corcoran at kcorcoran@mercurynews