Motorist who mowed down Times Square pedestrians to face murder charges

Vincent Carr
May 20, 2017

Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday afternoon that a fatal incident in Times Square, in which a auto killed at least one person and injured almost two dozen others, did not appear to be related to terrorism, writes Politico.

The deceased teenager, named in media reports as 18-year-old MI tourist Alyssa Elsman, was walking with her 13-year-old sister, who was injured. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured.

"Preliminary investigation reveals that Rojas has a few arrests - and two of them are for DUI", said NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.

In front of his apartment building in the Mt. Eden section of the Bronx, Rojas' close friend says Rojas returned home from his service in the Navy, with psychological issues, and a drinking problem.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stressed that there was no indication the incident was an act of terror.

Three people are in critical condition with serious head injuries, and a fourth is being treated for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, according to the complaint.

"He began screaming, no particular words but just utter screaming".

Rojas, wearing the same red T-shirt and jeans he was photographed in the day earlier, appeared subdued Friday during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed murder and attempted murder charges. It was unclear when Rojas, who was in custody, would get a lawyer or be arraigned.

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He did not enter a plea, and is due back in court next week.

Twenty-three people were struck by the auto before it was stopped by a security barrier.

Rojas has several prior criminal cases that paint a picture of a troubled man. In 2012, he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer. He was most recently based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and was discharged in 2014.

A week ago he was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

Rojas enlisted in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but did not say why.

Police records show that Rojas, who had served in the United States navy, had been arrested twice for drunken driving in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month on a charge of menacing.

Other reports by BadHub

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