Man charged with driving SUV into Woodfield Mall found unfit for trial

The Palatine man accused of crashing his SUV through the glass windows of a Sears store and driving into Woodfield Mall was found unfit for trial Friday.

Javier Garcia, 23, faces terrorism and criminal damage to property charges related to the Sept. 20, 2019, disturbance.

Defense attorney Frank Avila says his client is not a terrorist and has been overcharged.

"He's mentally ill," said Avila. "He should be somewhere where he can receive some help."

"Authorities have determined he has no ideological, political or racial leanings" marking him as a terrorist, Avila said, adding that his client behaved as he did because he was not properly medicated.

According to Schaumburg police, Garcia first entered Woodfield on foot through the Sears entrance on Sept. 20, walked through the store and left. Minutes later, police say, Garcia drove his SUV from the parking lot into the Sears entrance at an "exceedingly high rate of speed."

Garcia was subsequently admitted to Amita Health Behavioral Medicine Institute for several days.

Witnesses captured the disturbance on video. Garcia's car did not strike any people as it sped through the mall, officials said.

Garcia also faces arson charges stemming from a truck fire that Palatine police say he set two weeks before the disturbance at Woodfield.

Garcia pleaded not guilty to the terrorism and arson charges. He is being held without bail at Cook County jail.

Avila says his client is being housed in the jail's medical wing but believes that is not the appropriate place for him. "He should be in a separate mental health institution getting proper medical care," Avila said.

Garcia next appears in court May 1.

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