A auto plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in NY s bustling Times Square on Thursday, leaving one person dead and at least 19 others injured in what officials said was an accident.
The woman was identified as Alyssa Elsman, a resident of Portage, Michigan.
The dead woman was named by police as Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old who was on vacation with her family from MI. Instead, preliminary findings suggest that the unnamed driver was most likely under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A speeding vehicle struck several pedestrians in Times Square today, which left emergency first responders rushing to sort out the mess and provide medical assistance to everyone in need.
The auto finally came to rest with two of its wheels in the air, leaning on a lamppost and steel barriers meant to block vehicles from getting onto the sidewalk, ending the incident.
The carnage happened in a part of the city that has always been considered a possible terrorist target because of its large crowds, a concern that became elevated after the September 11 attacks and compounded by recent attacks in England, France and Germany in which vehicles plowed through crowds of pedestrians.
Initially, there were fears the incident had been a terrorist attack but investigators discounted that and are focusing on Rojas's sobriety and mental health.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no indication it was an act of terror.
Photographers snapped pictures of Rojas after he climbed from the wrecked auto and ran through the street before he was tackled by a group that included a ticket seller and a muscular door supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant.
The incident, which unfolded just before noon, is being investigated as an accident, a police official said. He pleaded guilty and said he was aiming to avenge deaths from USA missiles fired from drones operating over Pakistan.
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He was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015, police Commissioner James O'Neill said. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken-driving programme and lost his licence for 90 days.
Police do not suspect this is linked to terrorism.
In the Bronx, neighbours of Rojas was a friendly man who had been having problems. Harrison Ramos said Rojas wasn't the same when he came back from active duty in 2014.
Navy records show that Rojas enlisted in September 2011 and was based in IL and Florida, working as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. In 2012 he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.
Navy records show he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but did not say why. They don't indicate why.
His most recent base was at Jacksonville in Florida but he was discharged three years ago after being court-martialled for reasons that have not been disclosed. Details were not immediately available.
Security camera footage showed the vehicle slam into pedestrians who moments earlier were ambling along, some carrying shopping bags and others pushing baby strollers.
The driver was "just mowing down people". "I don't think there was actually time for screaming".
President Donald Trump has been "made aware" that a auto plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square, the White House said, and he will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds.
The apartment building where Rojas lives was cordoned off by police Thursday. He was in custody, and it wasn't clear if he had an attorney yet who could comment on his behalf. She and her daughter were shopping when the vehicle sped toward them.
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