Car Rams Into Pedestrians in NYC's Times Square, Killing at Least 1

Car Rams Into Pedestrians in NYC's Times Square, Killing at Least 1

Times Square was the scene of the most serious security alert in New since the September 11, 2001 attacks when Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani immigrant, planted a vehicle bomb at the intersection on May 1, 2010.

Witnesses said the motorist mounted the sidewalk in a burgundy Honda sedan and sped along for more than three city blocks, knocking people over before the vehicle hit a pole and came to rest at 45th Street and Broadway in Midtown Manhattan.

A bouncer from the Planet Hollywood restaurant and a ticket agent were among onlookers who helped police subdue the suspect when he tried to flee the scene, media reports said.

In this image made from video provided by Oscar Navarro Reyes, Richard Rojas is arrested after a fatal automobile accident on New York City's Times Square, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

Police say a 26-year-old man was in custody and was suspected of driving while intoxicated.

Rojas' burgundy Honda Accord sedan was smoking when it came to a stop at West 45th Street and Broadway, where it remained at least until 6 pm.

A auto rests on a security barrier in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

"He murdered in cold blood", Assistant District Attorney Harrison Schweiloch said.

Richard Rojas, 26, was arrested after his maroon sedan jumped the curb and hit 23 individuals in Times Square, killing Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from MI. Her sister, with whom she was walking at the time, was also injured when Rojas plowed through. One eyewitness described the situation as "chaos" as people lay on the ground with serious head injuries.

Friends say Rojas told people he works in real estate, but it's unclear if he had any kind of realtors license, Carlin reported.

He didn't enter a plea and was held without bail. Rojas' lawyer, Enrico Demarco, had no comment.

Rojas is to be arraigned Friday. His next court appearance is May 24.

"This was an incredibly scary moment, happening right in the heart of Times Square where hundreds, if not thousands, of tourists were mixing with the local workers during lunch time", he said.

The deadly rampage on Thursday started after the driver allegedly made a U-turn, then steered the auto into the packed sidewalk where it rammed dozens of pedestrians for a three block stretch. In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the police officials said.

Photographers snapped pictures of a wild-eyed Rojas after he climbed from the wrecked vehicle and ran through the street waving his arms.

Rojas had two prior arrests for DWI.

"You're trying to steal my identity", he said, according to prosecutors.

Navy records show Rojas enlisted in September 2011 and was based in IL and Florida, working as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. In 2012 he served aboard the U.S.S. He was most recently arrested last week in the Bronx on a charge of menacing.

He was arrested a year later at a naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, where officials said he attacked a cab driver, shouted "my life is over", and threatened to kill police, according to court records. Rojas was also said to be having alcoholism issues.

Rojas tested positive for PCP and told police that God made him do it, a law enforcement source told CNN.

Alan Ceballos, an attorney who represented Rojas in that case, said the state charges were dropped after the military stepped in to take jurisdiction over the criminal case.

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