Times Square Murder Suspect: ‘I Wanted to Kill Them’
NEW YORK – “I wanted to kill them.” Those words are attributed to the Times Square murder suspect who is accused of plowing into a crowd Thursday, according to prosecutors. Since the vehicle was used as a weapon killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 20 others, Richard Rojas, 26, was arraigned today on charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated vehicular homicide, reported ABC News.
Three people remain hospitalized with critical injuries from the vehicular assault.
Prosecutors today said Rojas “brutally murdered an 18-year-old woman and severely injured her 13-year-old sister who were here on vacation.” The victim was identified as Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Michigan, officials said. Her younger sister is in the hospital with a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, police said today.
After Rojas crashed, he exited the car. That is when prosecutors quoted him as saying, “I wanted to kill them.” He made an additional statement that police should have shot him, they said.
Rojas was detained by police and civilians, police said. The citizen taking action to detain the suspect was Kenya Bradix.
“I stopped him,” Bradix responded when questioned by a reporter. “That’s right,” he replied, confirming he did not allow Rojas to do any more damage.
“He waited for those cars to pass, and he accelerated, striking down these pedestrians,” said Asst. Chief William Aubry. “That goes to his state of mind and his motivation.”
Security barriers are credited with stopping the suspect vehicle from mowing over more citizens. Video from the incident shows the car impacting the barricades and nearly flipping over, all while injuring more people.
Online court records said Rojas was observed with “glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet.” Rojas reportedly told police, “I smoked marijuana. I laced the marijuana with PCP.” Police sources confirmed the presence of PCP in his system.
Rojas’ motivation remains unclear, although officials do not believe it was related to terrorism. He was remanded to custody today and will return to court on May 24.
WARNING: Disturbing video of vehicular assault.
Annie Donahey, who witnessed Thursday’s carnage, told ABC News, “I was walking toward the subway station and the sidewalk that I was on was super crowded. Last minute I decided I was gonna cross the street … I turn around because someone screamed. There’s this red car, full speed, careening down the sidewalk.”
Donahey said one woman she was walking next to was struck by the car. “I looked back and she was in a pile on the street,” Donahey said. “It could’ve been me.”
She continued: “I wouldn’t be here now if I hadn’t crossed the street. It happened too fast.”
(Feature image screenshot ABC News broadcast)