NEW YORK — A man charged with slamming his speeding car into pedestrians on the sidewalks of Times Square, killing a teenage tourist and injuring nearly two dozen people including a Canadian woman, said he wanted to “kill them all” and police should have shot him to stop him, a prosecutor revealed Friday.
Richard Rojas, 26, also told responding officers Thursday after he crashed his Honda Accord into protective barriers that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to a criminal complaint. Officials are awaiting toxicology results, though a police official said Rojas “had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady,” during his arrest, the complaint said.
Rojas, wearing the same red T-shirt and jeans he was photographed in the day earlier, appeared subdued during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed a felony murder charge.
He didn’t enter a plea. Rojas’ lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment. He’s due back in court next week.
Rojas drove his car from the Bronx to Times Square, where he sped into the bustling Crossroads of the World, hitting nearly two dozen people on the sidewalk before 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.
Three people are in critical condition with serious head injuries, and a fourth person is being treated for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, according to the complaint.
Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician’s mate fireman apprentice. In 2012, he served aboard 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 final 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.