Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Man charged with murder after auto mows down pedestrians in Time Square

Man charged with murder after auto mows down pedestrians in Time Square Man charged with murder after auto mows down pedestrians in Time Square
Kenny Thornton | 20 May, 2017, 03:52

A man steered his auto onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager, then emerged from his wrecked vehicle wild-eyed and waving his arms before he was subdued by police and bystanders.

Rojas has been arrested twice in New York - in 2015 and 2008 - for drunken driving, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

A former US Navy sailor slammed his auto into pedestrians in New York City's packed Times Square yesterday, wounding at least 22 people.

The dead woman was named by police as Alyssa Elsman, 18, who was on vacation with her family from MI.

One of the hospitals treating the injured said four patients were in critical condition Thursday night.

He served in the Navy from July 2011 to March 2014 and spent two months in the brig in Charleston, South Carolina after being court martialed, CBS News reports.

"He left his house at 10:30 yesterday morning, and at 11:54 he came to Times Square", Aubry said.

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism. The vehicle was traveling in the wrong direction on the sidewalk for about three blocks before the crash occurred, police and witnesses said.

Richard Rojas of the Bronx is charged with second-degree murder, 20 counts of second-degree attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, authorities said.

Just a week before the latest incident, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary.

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Rojas was arrested and will be tested for drugs and alcohol, police said. Law enforcement sources say Rojas told police he heard voices and expected to die. The arresting officer said Rojas screamed, "My life is over!" as he was being detained. Rojas' lawyer, Enrico Demarco, had no comment. "That being said, we are reinforcing key locations around the city with our anti-terror units of the NYPD", he added.

His family and friends who attended the hearing cried outside court and didn't speak to reporters.

Elizabeth Long, of Dayton, Ohio, was walking to the Hard Rock Cafe when she saw a maroon auto heading toward her on the sidewalk.

Al Jazeera's Gabriel Elizondo, reporting from NY, said law-enforcement officials were at the scene and talking to eye witnesses to gather as much information as possible. However, further drug tests were being conducted while he remains in police custody, the Associated Press reported.

The sidewalks around Times Square are secured with more than 200 steel bollards meant to prevent accidental or criminal vehicle intrusions, said Rob Reiter, chief security consultant for CalPipe Security Bollards.

Twenty-two additional people were injured, according to the New York Fire Department.

The auto came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk.

A vehicle traveling through Times Square has driven into a crowd of pedestrians, injuring several people.

Television images taken at the scene midday Thursday showed people being taken away on stretchers.

As New York City engineers examine the Times Square wreck, Calpipe will work with them to determine if improvements to the protective posts are necessary, Rob Reiter, the firm's security consultant, told KPCC.

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