A man who killed a teenager and injured 23 after mounting the pavement in New York’s Times Square in a speeding vehicle was allegedly expecting officers to kill him during the incident.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: 'We have
tremendous faith in our first
responders who handled this
situation so quickly'
Richard Rojas, 26, a US Navy veteran, reportedly told officers after he was arrested: “You were supposed to kill me.”
A major security alert was sparked following the incident as a large number of officers were dispatched to the scene, the majority of Times Square was cordoned off, and the NYPD bomb squad swept the area for possible explosives.
Mr Rojas who has previously been arrested twice for drink driving, travelled on the pavement of Times Square for three blocks, hitting many pedestrians until his car smashed into a bollard at Broadway and 45th Street.
Harrowing CCTV footage was posted online showing members of the public being flung over the bonnet of the speeding vehicle.
As Mr Rojas jumped out of his upturned Honda and began running across the road, several members of the public wrestled him to the ground and he was arrested.
Alyssa Elsman, 18, was killed during the incident, and her 13-year-old sister was among the 23 injured.
Four people are in a critical condition, three are serious and the others required treatment for their injuries.
Following recent attacks in London, Berlin, Nice and Stockholm – in which a speeding vehicle was used by Islamic extremists – suspicions of a similar terror attack were raised.
However, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has since said it is not being treated as terrorism-related.
“There is no indication that this was an act of terror,” Mayor Bill de Blasio added. “We have tremendous faith in our first responders who handled this situation so quickly."
Mr Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed testing is being carried out following suspicions he may have smoked synthetic cannabis before driving.
He also reportedly told officers he heard voices.
One investigator told the New York Times
Mr Rojas had so far offered no explanation for his actions, and was “just rambling and saying crazy stuff”.
He has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder. He is due to appear in court on Friday (May 19).