In 2012, NYC driver wanted to kill cops

Cheryl Sanders
May 21, 2017

A US Navy veteran who plowed a vehicle into pedestrians in New York's Times Square, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people, has been charged with murder and attempted murder, police said in NY.

'He murdered in cold blood, ' Assistant District Attorney Harrison Schweiloch said during the brief proceeding. He did not enter a plea and has been held without bail. His next court appearance is May 24.

Richard Rojas, 26, plowed into people on the sidewalk in his burgundy Honda vehicle and sped three blocks before crashing into a metal pole, police said.

Rojas, who was eventually subdued by police and bystanders, tested negative for alcohol, but is suspected of being high on K2, a synthetic drug which has been wreaking havoc across the nation.

After his arrest, Rojas told police he was "hearing voices" and expected to die, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Her condition is "very critical, Aubrey said".

An 18-year-old woman was killed and at least 22 people were injured, city officials said.

The Navy vet was arrested just last week and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

He had enlisted in the Navy in 2011, serving overseas the USS Carney in 2012, before reportedly being dishonorably discharged in 2014.

Officials say Rojas had served in the Navy but was discharged in 2014 following disciplinary problems.

Twenty-six-year-old Richard Rojas was taken into custody Thursday after the crash that killed a teenager and injured 22 other people.

While the attack triggered comparisons with jihadist-inspired vehicle rampages in Europe, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was "no indication that this was an act of terrorism".

Times Square is considered one of the top targets for terrorism in America so surveillance cameras captured every chilling moment. But investigators quickly turned their focus to the sobriety and mental health of the driver, identified as Bronx resident Richard Rojas.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, from Portage, Michigan, was on her first day of a dream vacation touring New York City with her family when she lost her life. In 2012, he was accused of beating a cab driver in Jacksonville, Florida, at a naval station.

Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but did not say why.

"I think we've done our community a disservice by calling this drug a synthetic marijuana", says Troy Officer of the Austin Police Department.

She posted an Instagram video in Times Square moments before a driver plowed through pedestrians with his Honda Accord.

Other reports by iNewsToday