"He used to love his kids, he used to love his daughter... Very quiet guy, but all of a sudden he started having mental problems," said neighbor Fuad Abdulmalik.
Karl Flores' recklessness was on display during Thursday's chase. At one point, he struck a pedestrian on a scooter and kept going. The victim survived without life-threatening injuries, according to investigators, even though Flores ran over him.
WARNING: THIS VIDEO MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME VIEWERS
Flores, an Army veteran, had been an occasional worshipper at the Islamic Center of Inglewood. Mosque leaders say that two years ago, Flores' behavior changed. Members called police after Flores attacked a mosque employee who found Flores smoking marijuana in a prayer room.
"I was informed from his family member that he has PTSD and they were asking our help, and we said we're here to help, that's not a problem...," said Javed Bava, president of the Islamic Society of Inglewood.
According to military records, Flores had enlisted in the Army when he was 18 and left in 2008. His family tells Eyewitness News he did three tours in Afghanistan and that the VA had been unable to help him.
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According to neighbors, Flores' troubles escalated in recent months. Police responded to reports of domestic abuse at his apartment. His wife fled for her safety. He was facing eviction, and on New Year's Day, he was screaming and threatening his neighbor.
"He came after me holding a long metal stick and saying 'go, go go.' I run away. I went to the mosque, I called 911," Abdulmalik said.
The chase ended on the 5 Freeway near Camp Pendleton after Flores' car ran out of gas. A standoff continued until officers shot Flores with a bean bag gun.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Flores initially refused treatment but later agreed to medical help. He is now recovering from surgery at a San Diego medical facility as he faces multiple felonies.
Leaders at the Islamic Center say that they are pursuing a restraining order in case Flores is released. They say that worshippers stopped going to prayers for fear of running into Flores.
Now, they are spreading the word that it is safe to return.