A 26-year-old Navy veteran named Richard Rojas, who appeared to be intoxicated, steered his car onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square Thursday, killing a teenager and injuring 22 others, before he was tackled by bystanders, authorities said.
A man accused of mowing down a crowd of Times Square pedestrians, killing a teenage tourist, said that he wanted to "kill them all" and that officers should have shot him to stop him, prosecutors said Friday.
Richard Rojas, 26, appeared subdued during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed a felony murder charge.
He didn’t enter a plea. Rojas’s lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment. He’s due back in court next week.
Rojas told police after he was tackled following the mayhem in Times Square that police should have shot him to stop him and that he wanted to "kill them all," prosecutors said. He told police that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to a criminal complaint.
Rojas drove his car from the Bronx to Times Square on Thursday, where he sped into the bustling Crossroads of the World, hitting nearly two dozen people on the sidewalk before steel security barriers finally stopped him, authorities said.
Eighteen-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured, four of them critically.
Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician’s mate fireman apprentice. In 2012, he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.
Navy records show that in 2013 he spent two months at a naval prison in Charleston, South Carolina. They don’t indicate why.
Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.