Times Square driver ‘should have been shot’ says prosecutor

Three remain in a critical condition after Richard Rojas plowed through pedestrians

A security camera has captured video of the moment a car mounted the pavement and ploughed through pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square, New York. One person was killed and over 20 injured in the incident. Video: REUTERS

 

A man charged with slamming his speeding car into pedestrians in Times Square, killing a teenager and injuring nearly two dozen people, should have been shot by police to stop him, a prosecutor said.

Richard Rojas (26), said he wanted to “kill them all” and told police he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP before making a U-turn onto the pavement of Crossroads of the World, ploughing into frightened tourists, according to a criminal complaint.

Officials are awaiting toxicology results, though Rojas “had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady,” during his arrest, the complaint said.

“He murdered in cold blood,” Assistant District Attorney Harrison Schweiloch said as Rojas appeared in court.

Alyssa Elsman (18), of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured. Three people are in a critical condition with serious head injuries, and a fourth is being treated for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, according to the complaint.

Rojas, wearing the same red T-shirt and jeans he was photographed in the day earlier, appeared subdued on Friday during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed murder and attempted murder charges. He did not enter a plea and was held without bail until he is due in court again next week.

Rojas, who lived with his mother in the Bronx, drove his car on Thursday from his home to Times Square where he barrelled up the pavement, knocking down pedestrians as others ran in terror, before crashing into protective barriers. “That goes to his state of mind,” said William Aubry, assistant chief of the New York Police Department. it emerged that

Rojas pleaded guilty last week to harassment in the Bronx after he was accused of pulling a knife on a notary in his home. He also has two previous drunken driving cases.

AP