Prosecutors: Times Square Driver Intended to Kill
NEW YORK - The man accused of killing one person and injuring over 20 others in Times Square was arraigned Friday as more details emerge in the case.
Prosecutors say Richard Rojas told police that he wanted "to kill them all."
They also say he told police "I smoked marijuana. I laced the
marijuana with PCP."
The complaint goes on to say Rojas eyes were glassy, he had slurred speech, and was unsteady.
In court, prosecutors also alleged Rojas said cops should have shot
him in order to stop him.
Rojas has been charged with murder, 20 counts of attempted murder, and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
The crash happened just before noon.
Investigators say Rojas was driving south on Seventh Avenue and made a U-turn onto the sidewalk as he approached 42nd Street.
He allegedly drove on the sidewalk for three and a half blocks to
45th Street, and plowed into 23 pedestrians along the way.
Investigators say he paused for traffic before heading for his victims, actions that show he wanted to do harm.
At 45th Street, Rojas crashed into the metal barriers and got out of the car.
While police have ruled out terrorism, they say they’re still
investigating the 26-year-old Bronx resident's exact motivation.
"As he approaches 42nd street, he slows down, he allows traffic
to pass and then he makes that right turn onto that sidewalk. He
accelerates it while he's doing so and while he accelerates he starts
to striked down the first pedestrians," said NYPD Assistant Chief
William Aubrey. "That goes to his state of mind. He waited for
those cars to past and he accelerated."
Witnesses say Rojas was screaming and swinging his arms wildly after crashing the vehicle.
Rojas went running through the street before he was subdued by police and bystanders, and taken into custody.
Law enforcement officials say he told police he was hearing voices.
Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed drug tests are pending.
Rojas' defense attorney declined comment Friday.
22 people were injured and taken to local hospitals.
Seven remain in the hospital, with three in critical condition.
Police say 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman was killed.
The Michigan native was visiting the city with her family. Her 13-year-old sister remains in critical condition with a collapsed lung and broken pelvis.
The Honda remained in Times Square for most of the day as police conducted their investigation.
It was eventually removed by the NYPD late Thursday night.
Even though investigators quickly determined that the crash was not
related to terrorism, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the NYPD is stepping
up security just to be safe.
"We are reinforcing key locations around the city with our anti-terror units of the NYPD. So out of an abundance of caution, major sites in this city will get additional police coverage from our anti-terror units," De Blasio said.
Rojas is a U.S. citizen and Navy veteran who was discharged in 2014 after a special court martial.
He has a long rap sheet, including at least two prior arrests for
driving while intoxicated.
Police say Rojas left his Bronx home on Walton Ave. around 10:30 a.m.
Police were able to retrace the route he took in his Honda Accord with various surveillance cameras and license plate readers. At 11:50 a.m., he was in Times Square.
Detectives say Rojas mother, family members, and neighbors have been cooperative with the investigation in the 26-year-old's back ground.