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Brooklyn U-Haul driver who killed 1 and injured 8 told cops an ‘invisible object’ sparked his rampage

Police surround the U-Haul truck after the carnage on Feb. 13, 2023, in Brooklyn. (Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/TNS)

The U-Haul driver arrested after a 90-minute Brooklyn rampage claimed he was hallucinating behind the wheel before killing one victim and injuring eight more, police said Tuesday.

Suspect Wong Sor recounted spotting “an invisible object” heading toward his vehicle before launching his bizarre and deadly ride across the borough, NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said.

“He states when he’s driving his van he sees an invisible object come towards the car and at that point he says, ‘I’ve had enough’ — and he goes on his rampage,” Essig said. “There’s no object. He says ‘there’s an invisible object heading towards my car and I’ve had enough.’”

Sor’s version of what happened came as a close family friend told the New York Daily News the suspect was off his medication, smoking marijuana — and eager for a Florida visit with ex-President Donald Trump.

Sor is “not stable and has mental problems,” family friend Wesley James Zimmerman told the Daily News. “He has refused his medication for months now and is smoking weed which furthers his delusions.”

Zimmerman recounted the suspect’s intent to visit Trump one day after Sor allegedly killed one person and mowed down eight more before his wild ride through Brooklyn ended with the suspect shouting at police to gun him down.

“Shoot me! I’m not stopping!” howled Sor, 62, as police took him into custody following the lengthy pursuit. Sor remained behind bars awaiting criminal charges one day after the lethal spree behind the wheel of the U-Haul truck that had become his home.

Detectives were investigating the possibility Sor was intent on “suicide by cop” when he carved a path of terror across Brooklyn, with scores of pedestrians sent scrambling for cover as he drove through the borough streets and up on sidewalks.

Sor had been living out of the U-Haul, which contained boxes, clothes and other items. The vehicle was rented Feb. 1 out of West Palm Beach, according to U-Haul, and was due back March 3 at the same location.

“He told his family that he was going to Florida to find Donald Trump,” Zimmerman said. “He’s been sick for about 15 years now. I’m not sure the exact illness but he always does something extreme when he’s not medicated.”

Sor was living in Las Vegas before he appeared without warning in the middle of the Brooklyn night last week, his son told The Associated Press. Son Stephen Sor described their relationship as troubled: “I try to just distance, as long as he leaves us alone.”

The suspect previously served 17 months in a Nevada prison for stabbing his brother in Las Vegas in 2015, court and prison records show. An arrest report said the two men’s mother returned home to find Sor holding a knife and his sibling bleeding profusely.

He was involved in a second incident in which two people were stabbed back in 2020, spending several months in state psychiatric facilities before pleading guilty in the attack, records indicate.

The defendant was placed on medication although court documents did not specify a diagnosis.

NYPD investigators have determined Sor purposefully aimed for the people he struck, who varied in age and nationality, police sources said.

A law enforcement source said Sor’s motive may ultimately prove hard to determine.

“I don’t know if we’re going to know because we’re trying to apply a rational explanation to an irrational guy,” the source said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he sad, ‘Oh man, the Eagles lost.’ He’s that erratic.”

“I don’t put a lot of faith in anything the guy says — he wanted to die, he wished to be hit by police bullets,” the source added. “Some of what he says is concerning. But he’s a wild card.”

Sor’s rampage began at 10:17 a.m. Monday at Fourth Avenue and 54th Street in Sunset Park before moving south into Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, cops said. At one point in the bizarre incident, Sor steered his U-Haul truck onto the sidewalk before changing directions and heading north toward downtown Brooklyn.

YiJie Ye, a 44-year-old man on an e-bike, died of blunt force trauma at NYU Langone Hospital after Sor rammed into him near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Bay Ridge Parkway during the middle of the rampage, police said.

“The truck was dragging the bike down the street but he didn’t stop,” said Kida Rexhepi, 41, who owns a business along the street, to the New York Daily News. “He went down the block and came around again but kept going.”

Sor escaped onto the Gowanus Expressway and was eventually captured by the mouth of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel in Red Hook.

Cops say Sor was born in Malaysia and is a U.S. citizen, and relatives confirmed his mental health woes.

“Very frequently he’ll choose to skip out on his medications and do something like this,” his son Stephen Sor told The Associated Press on Monday. “This isn’t the first time he’s been arrested. It’s not the first time he’s gone to jail.”

Earlier this month, Sor received two summonses on the Belt Parkway for speeding and for using a commercial vehicle on the parkway.


© 2023 New York Daily News

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