John Taylor Freeman ranted on Facebook that he hated people, thought of suicide, and wanted to crash into “stupid humans” on the road.
Last week, he may have carried out his dark fantasies when he drove the wrong way on state Route 52 in San Diego and smashed head-on into another car, killing that driver and himself.
His Facebook posts for months focused on other people’s bad driving or parking, boasted of driving drunk, and expressed deep contempt for people in general and especially those who abuse animals. Several friends and family members replied to his extreme comments, urging him to not drink and drive, look for the good in people, and to seek help.
On April 26 he wrote, “Some dumbass cut me off on the freeway and hit their brakes so I decided to give them a love tap on their rear bumper at 65 mph. I almost made the (expletive) crash. Then pulled up next to him and gave him the middle finger for about 20 seconds and told them they should all die so earth is a better place.”
Freeman commented in March that he wished he’d been able to kill a pedestrian who jaywalked in front of him. In May, he wrote that he’d never felt more depressed in his life.
According to his Facebook posts, Freeman lived in his van in La Jolla.
The 33-year-old earned money by walking dogs, after a stint as a pizza deliveryman, said one of his former dog-walking clients.
Cori Stern, of La Jolla, said she had begun to think something wasn’t right with Freeman, but never imagined he was giving vent to such negative views on himself and the world. After his death, a neighbor noted Freeman’s Facebook postings.
“When I saw that, I was horrified,” Stern said. “He was openly saying he was suicidal and homicidal.”
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the possibility that Freeman was suicidal in the June 13 collision that also killed 52-year-old Riyadh Kafaji of La Jolla. (Kafaji’s last name has also been spelled as Alkafaji in some public records.)
Authorities reported that Freeman was heading east in the westbound lanes of Route 52 about 12:30 a.m. when the pickup he was driving smashed into a Mercedes Benz. Kafaji died in the wreckage of his car. Freeman’s pickup burst into flames. Witnesses tried to help when they saw him stick his arm out of the truck, but the flames were too intense.
The Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducts autopsies to determine the cause of death as well as whether a death is by accident, suicide or homicide, has not concluded its investigation into the two deaths.
Freeman’s brother, Peter Freeman, when reached by phone on Friday, said he and his family “have zero comment” about his troubled brother.
A family member of Kafaji’s also declined comment.
Stern said she had hired Freeman about two years ago, and saw that he was good handling dogs. He built up a certain clientele and was trusted with house keys so he could collect his canine charges. But she started getting concerned after a neighbor caught him lounging in Stern’s home and she believed he was spending too much time in other clients’ homes.
His Facebook posts show him with various dogs and at the zoo, with comments that he feels good only when he is around the animals. In a May 2 post, he wrote: “I have to thank the San Diego Zoo and Safari park for extending my life. If I wasn't for you I would have committed suicide or a homicide/suicide by now.Thank you non-human animals for extending my life.”
On the same day he wrote he was loving driving and thinking about causing car crashes “with the stupid humans.”
On June 2 he wrote that he had consumed a 16-oz IPA beer and driven to a casino the day before. “No one was hurt but I did try to T-bone a car that made a left turn in front of me on a red light. I was at 50 mph and missed there (sic) car by 1 foot.”
When Facebook friends chastised him, he replied, “More fun giving a learning lesson that could take away lives. If I would have hit the guy and killed him, he would have had the ultimate learning lesson and will never make a mistake like that again.”
Others urged him to not let other people affect his actions. His answer, “They are not affecting my actions. I have always wanted to kill a stupid human but thought prison wasn't the right place for me. Now I don't care where I end up if I kill some stupid human.”
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