NEW YORK – A man accused of mowing down a crowd of Times Square pedestrians, killing a teenager, tourism, and said that he wanted to “kill them all” and that the officers should have shot him to stop, prosecutors said Friday.
Richard Rojas, 26, appeared subdued during a brief appearance where prosecutors detailed a felony murder charge.
He did not enter a plea. Rojas’s lawyer, and weeping supporters had no comment. He is due back in court next week.
Rojas told the police after he was addressed after the chaos of Times Square, the police would have shot him to stop him and that he wanted to “kill them all,” prosecutors said. He told the police that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to a criminal complaint.
Rojas drove his car from the Bronx to Times Square on Thursday, where he flew in the busy Crossroads of the World, hitting nearly two dozen people on the sidewalk for steel security barriers finally stopped him, authorities said.
Eighteen-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured, four of them critically.
Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician’s mate fireman apprentice. In 2012 he worked on board the USS Carney, a destroyer.
Navy records show that in 2013, he spent two months at a naval prison in Charleston, South Carolina. They don’t indicate why.
Rojas spent his last months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.