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Crazed Times Square driver says he set out to ‘kill them all’

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Richard Rojas, 26, told cops he had smoked pot laced with PCP and expected officers to shoot him following the Thursday sidewalk assault, prosecutors said.

(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)


Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017, 1:25 PM

The maniacal Times Square motorist declared that he wanted to “kill them all” after mowing down pedestrians on packed sidewalks, prosecutors said Friday.

Richard Rojas, 26, also told cops he had smoked pot laced with PCP and expected officers to shoot him following the Thursday sidewalk assault, prosecutors said.

“I wanted to kill them,” he barked to an officer after the wreck, according to the criminal complaint.

The new details emerged as Rojas was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on one count of murder, one count of aggravated vehicular homicide and 20 counts of attempted murder.

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Tamiko Amaker ordered Rojas held without bail.

“His crime was a random, murderous rampage against the city and the folks who come to enjoy it,” said prosecutor Harrison Schweiloch.

The Bronx man’s deadly rampage began just before noon Thursday when he steered his Honda Accord onto the sidewalk at Seventh Ave. and W. 42nd St.

The ex-Navy officer used his vehicle like a battering ram, plowing into nearly two dozen pedestrians.

** RIGHTS: ONLY UNITED STATES, CANADA ** New York, - *PREMIUM-EXCLUSIVE* - A speeding vehicle has struck at least 14 pedestrians on a sidewalk in New York City's Times Square, killing one person and seriously injuring another. Police have taken a suspect into custody. The New York Police Department closed off the area after the collisions occurred on on Thursday, just before noon, at the corner of 45th Street and Broadway Pictured: Terrorist Attack BACKGRID USA 18 MAY 2017 BYLINE MUST READ: Charles Guerin / Bestimage / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / UK: +44 208 344 2007 / *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*

33 photos view gallery

Car fatally plows into pedestrians in Times Square

The harrowing incident ended when Rojas barreled into a metal barrier at W. 45th St. The crazed driver tried to flee the scene but was stopped by a traffic agent and a pair of onlookers.

Killed was 18-year-old Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman. Her 13-year-old sister Ava was among the 22 others injured.

Four remain in critical condition. Ava was suffering from a broken pelvis and cracked lung, officials said.

Authorities were awaiting blood test results to confirm what, if any, drugs Rojas had consumed.

NYPD Assistant Chief William Aubry offered a detailed timeline of the chilling incident.

Rojas left his home at 10:30 a.m. and entered Manhattan 30 minutes later.

At 11:48 a.m., he was recorded driving southbound on Broadway at W. 52nd St.

Four minutes later, he pulled a sharp U-turn on Seventh Ave. at W. 42nd St. after slowing down to let traffic pass.

Rojas accelerated onto the sidewalk and barreled into a group of pedestrians.

He struck and killed Elsman on W. 43rd St. and motored on striking and dragging pedestrians.

Aubry said it was telling that Rojas slowed to let cars pass before speeding onto the sidewalk.

“That goes to his state of mind, his motivation,” Aubry said.

Mayor de Blasio said family members told cops that Rojas had been struggling with mental health issues since he was a young boy.

The incident “appears to be intentional in the sense that he was troubled and lashing out,” de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer.

Friends said he returned from his stint in the Navy a troubled man.

Rojas boozed often, complained of nightmares and raved about demons and devils, his pals said.

A year before he left the service in May 2014, Rojas spent two months at a Naval prison in Charleston, S.C.

The troubled vet was arrested for DWI in 2008 and 2015.

His spiral deepened in recent days.

A week before his Times Square wreck, Rojas was arrested for pulling a knife on a man inside his Morris Heights apartment.

He was charged with menacing and criminal possession of a weapon. 

times square
mental health
new york assaults
morris heights
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