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Times Square driver charged with murder, appears in court

20 May, 2017, 09:32 | Author: Mae Harvey

After his arrest, he told police he was "hearing voices" and expected to die, two law enforcement officials said.

"I smoked", Rojas allegedly told an officer after.

Rojas then drove the wrong way up three and a half blocks of Seventh Avenue sidewalk, accelerating and intentionally steering his auto into fleeing pedestrians in an apparent bid at suicide-by-cop.

It isn't clear when Rojas might get a lawyer. Surveillance video shows bodies being struck in the crowded intersection in Manhattan.

He said he saw about five people who looked gravely injured, saying, "People, really bad, in front of us".

NYPD sources say the Bronx native told officials he experienced hallucinations, and later "alluded to suicide by cop" and "the end of days".

"He waited for those cars to pass, and then he accelerated, striking those pedestrians, that goes to his state of mind", Aubry said.

The symptoms exhibited by Rojas at the time, including slurred speech and glassy eyes, were consistent with those that would be seen in someone who had taken PCP or synthetic marijuana, Cidambi noted.

"So, it appears to be intentional in the sense that he was troubled and lashing out", the mayor added. "At the root of this.is an untreated mental health issue going back probably decades".

Rojas, wearing the same red T-shirt and jeans he was photographed in a day earlier, appeared subdued as prosecutors detailed murder and attempted murder charges.

O'Neill identified the suspect as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, describing him as a USA citizen and former service member with multiple previous DWI arrests. She'd been walking with her 13-year-old sister, who was also injured in the crash.

Police identified the woman killed by the vehicle as Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan. "She will be deeply missed by the staff and students here".

Rojas, who lives with his mother in the Bronx, has had multiple arrests in the past, including two for drunken driving, police said. A military judge sentenced him to three months confinement. A week ago he was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

"If he was driving normally up until he saw the crowd, he could have been triggered and have had homicidal thoughts that intensified or had a flashback from the past that he reacted to when he saw the crowd", she said. He then made a U-turn and sped along the sidewalk, colliding with pedestrians over the course of three blocks before coming to a halt when his auto hit a stanchion on the northwest corner of 45th Street and Broadway.

Witnesses described a harrowing scene that started with screeching tires and ended with screams, chaos and a fiery crash at one of the world's most visited sites. "There's this red auto, full speed, careening down the sidewalk".

A witness who was walking along 42nd Street told dpa she had to physically leap out of the way to avoid being hit by the driver as the vehicle came down 7th Avenue. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured. "I wanted to kill them".

"I felt so bad. standing there", not being able to do anything more to help, she said.

"I was not afraid the whole time because I was doing my job", he said.

But she came under fire for sharing the images on social media. He suffered bruises to his face, including a large bump on his head, she said. Do you think they need to tone it down?

The driver who crashed his vehicle into a crowd in NYC's Times Square has been charged with second-degree murder. After the auto came to a halt, the driver tried to flee before officers took him into custody. People were being dragged, they were on top of the auto. "He ran across the street, flailing his arms and screaming".

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