A driver plowed through pedestrians in Times Square on Thursday afternoon, killing one teenage tourist and injuring dozens of others, including the sister of the deceased.
Richard Rojas, 26, was the driver of the car said he expected to be killed by police officers. After his car ran up on some barriers, Rojas began to flee but was apprehended.
“You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them,” he reportedly shouted at police.
According to multiple reports, Rojas wasn’t drunk but appeared to be high from something he “smoked.” A drug test was ordered.
Alyssa Elsman, 18, from Portage, Michigan, is the only death so far. Twenty-two others were injured, including the girl’s 13-year-old sister. Some victims are reported in critical condition.
Rojas has been arrested for DWI twice before. In one of those arrests, he told authorities he heard voices. He told police the same thing today. The New York Post has other details:
He served in the US Navy from 2011 to 2015, and was not honorably discharged, sources said.
A friend said Rojas was never the same after he returned from his military service, and took up drinking to cope with the stress.
“He finally came home, and it was hard for him to find a job,” said Harrison Ramos, 30. “He was having a lot of bad nightmares. He was talking crazy. He was acting strange.”
Ramos added he would buy alcohol “to forget about all that stuff.”
“He should’ve gotten professional help,” he said. “He would talk about demons and devils and conspiracy theories.”
Apparently on Wednesday night, Rojas was partying with friends and in “good spirits” because he just got his car back from the repo man.
According to NY1, “Police say Rojas was arrested last week after he pointed a knife at a notary and accused the notary of stealing his identity.”
Police don't believe this is a terror-related incident.