US Navy veteran charged over Times Square carnage

US Navy veteran charged over Times Square carnage

Richard Rojas, 26, is accused of steering his auto onto the pavement in the heart of Times Square, driving for three blocks and hitting 23 pedestrians along the way.

The U.S. military took over the case. "That goes to the state of mind".

Rojas appeared subdued during a brief court appearance on Friday.

He didn't enter a plea and was held without bail. Rojas' family members attended the hearing but also did not comment.

Harrison Ramos, who lives near him in the Bronx, said he had been "going through a real tough time".

The bollard that stopped the auto driven by Richard Rojas likely saved lives by preventing it from entering an even more densely packed pedestrian plaza, and some New Yorkers are wondering whether the barriers should be deployed on many more sidewalks, much as they are now at sports stadiums and airports nationwide.

Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC's Brian Lehrer during a weekly radio address Friday that Rojas' mental issues "went unaddressed when he was in the US military".

The 18-year-old woman who died in the Times Square rampage on Thursday was a MI high school graduate with a knack for baking muffins, according to officials at her school who knew her.

"The vehicle landed sideways", another witness said.

Rojas, who lived in the Bronx, said he was hearing voices and had expected to die, according to law enforcement officials quoted by the Associated Press.

Online court records said Rojas was observed with "glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady on his feet".

Rojas later told police that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

"I ripped off his shirt to make sure this guy doesn't have anything under his shirt that's going to damage you", he said. "We hope blood work comes back in the next few days to confirm what we believe".

"Seven were admitted", Aubrey announced. Three other people had serious but not critical injuries, and 15 people had less serious injuries, he added. Twenty-two people were hurt - one of them Elsman's 13-year-old sister.

Rojas is next scheduled to appear in court on 24 May.

The first responders arrived quickly, the police commissioner said, and began treating the injured. "You had to work to get to know her", he said.

He said investigators were poring through Rojas' background, including any history of "psychological illness". He left the Navy in May 2014. NYPD says Rojas has two previous drunken driving arrests.

Richard has been driving vehicle from Bronx to Times Square before ending up by hitting steel barriers that were set up for security.

Aubry noted if not for the security devices that already existed - specifically a metal bollard that had stopped Rojas' vehicle at 45th Street - more lives could have been lost.

The mayor says police are reviewing whether more security measures are needed.

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