Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Suspect in deadly Times Square mayhem charged with murder

Suspect in deadly Times Square mayhem charged with murder

A vehicle plowed into pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's busy Times Square on Thursday, killing one person and injuring others.

O'Neill identified the suspect as 26-year-old Richard Rojas, describing him as a USA citizen and former service member with multiple previous DWI arrests.

The speeding vehicle jumped the sidewalk on the west side of 7th Avenue at 42nd Street and barreled into pedestrians for three blocks before crashing at the northwest corner of 45th Street, police said.

Pandemonium erupted when the vehicle barreled through the prime tourist location and came to rest with two of its wheels in the air.

Brooklyn resident Asa Lowe was standing outside the Levi's store enjoying the weather when he heard screaming. Her 13-year-old sister was injured, officials said.

Elsman's 13-year-old sister was also struck by the vehicle, but survived, police said.

NY mayor Bill de Blasio speaking from the scene said: "Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism".

Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed testing was being done to determine if he was high, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Police describe Rojas as a Navy veteran with a history of drunken driving arrests in 2008 and 2015. "You stole my identity", Rojas told the man, grabbing his neck in one hand while brandishing the knife in the other, according to a police spokeswoman.

A picture has emerged of Rojas from neighbours and authorities as a man with problems.

"He's easily, probably going over 40 (mph)", Rivera said.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011. He is an American-born citizen and a veteran of the US military.

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Court records showed Rojas was also arrested at a naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, in September 2012 after he yelled, "my life is over", and threatened to kill police.

The auto finally hit a metal post, becoming wedged partly on its side, and the suspect jumped out of the vehicle.

"He got out of the auto and he just started running until people tackled him down", Lowe said.

"I was in shock, I was screaming", she said.

"This place?" Balde said. "Anything happens here, there's no time for people to get out".

Rojas attended college and works in real estate, Ramos said.

"I saw streaks of, I don't know if it was blood, I don't know liquids, but it didn't seem good", he said.

Planet Hollywood said Bradix "selflessly and heroically took action, helping to stop the fleeing suspect".

President Donald Trump "has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates", his spokesman Sean Spicer said.

Live traffic cameras showed a huge emergency response in the area; at least five fire trucks cordoned off the intersection immediately near the scene and a line of police cruises, alarms and lights blaring, blocked off traffic near the TKTS booth. It wasn't clear if he a lawyer.

"Due to a vehicle collision with pedestrian injuries, emergency vehicles are in the area of Times Square".

That network of barricades, though, is far from a complete defense.

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