Popal pleads not guilty to murder

An East Bay man accused of running down more than a dozen people in an alleged hit-and-run rampage in San Francisco in August 2006 pleaded not guilty to 16 counts of attempted murder today in San Francisco Superior Court.

Omeed Aziz Popal, 30, is accused of targeting 16 pedestrians with his sport utility vehicle during a 15-minute span on various city streets and sidewalks of northern San Francisco on Aug. 29, 2006.

The victims' injuries ranged from minor scrapes to one woman who suffered life-threatening injuries and is now a quadriplegic.

The incidents took place about 45 minutes after 54-year-old Stephen Jay Wilson was fatally struck in a hit-and-run in Fremont, for which Popal is being charged with murder in Alameda County.

In San Francisco, Popal is facing 16 counts of attempted murder, 16 felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one felony count of battery on a peace officer and one felony count of reckless evasion from police, according to the San Francisco District Attorney's office.

Though Popal confessed to police about the crimes after his arrest, his attorney and family contend he has a history of mental illness.

According to the San Francisco Public Defender's Office, he suffers from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and auditory command hallucinations.

Appearing for his superior court arraignment this morning with his attorney, Popal entered not guilty pleas to all the charges.

He will return to court Feb. 26 in order to set further dates in the case, including possibly setting a trial date.

Popal had originally been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder, but charges were dropped for two alleged victims due to insufficient evidence, according to the District Attorney's office.

Bay City News

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Scenes from an SFO-bound BART train on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, the day California fully reopened for business after the COVID pandemic. (Al Saracevic/SF Examiner)
SF reopens: BART riders dreading the end of the pandemic

‘I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be packed like sardines’

Visitors walk through the western span of the Ferry Building the morning of Tuesday, June 15. (Ida Mojadad/SF Examiner)
Masks still a common occurrence at the Ferry Building

‘It’s more a mental thing than a science thing’

Azikiwee Anderson of Rize Up Bakery pulls and twists sourdough into shape on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s Rize Up Bakery serving up sourdough with a call to action

Azikiwee Anderson wakes up most mornings just before dawn to start cooking… Continue reading

Although The City has been shut down and largely empty, people have enjoyed gathering in places such as Dolores Park. <ins>(Al Saracevic/The Examiner)</ins>
Come back to San Francisco: The City needs you now

Time to get out of the house, people. The City’s been lonely… Continue reading

A surveillance camera outside Macy’s at Union Square on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Is the tide turning against surveillance cameras in SF?

Crime-fighting camera networks are springing up in commercial areas all around San… Continue reading

Most Read