Richard Rojas, 26, is accused of steering his vehicle onto the pavement in the heart of Times Square, driving for three blocks and hitting 23 pedestrians along the way.
The picture that quickly emerged of Rojas from neighbors and authorities was of a man with problems.
Police say they do not now believe the crash was in any way linked to terrorism. The arresting officer said Rojas screamed, "My life is over!" as he was being detained. Rojas reportedly told cops 'You were supposed to shoot me. "I laced the marijuana with PCP", according to the complaint.
A man accused of steering his auto onto one of the busiest sidewalks in the USA and mowing down pedestrians for three blocks before a row of steel security barriers finally stopped him told police he was "hearing voices", law enforcement officials said.
Rojas, wearing the same red T-shirt and jeans he was photographed in the day earlier, appeared subdued Friday during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed murder and attempted murder charges.
One surveillance video showed the vehicle jump the curb and slam into a group of people, sending bodies tumbling over the hood of the speeding auto. Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Up to 20 people might be injured and rammed into a crowd of people.
Richard Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011. "Personally I think this incident supports the argument for closing of all traffic through Times Square", Mr Burney told Reuters in an email.
"License plates are falling off as he's striking these pedestrians", Manhattan South Detectives Chief Bill Aubrey described the chaotic crash.
The Associated Press reports he is a veteran of the U.S. Navy from the Bronx.
"He was troubled and lashing out", the mayor said. "At the root of this.is an untreated mental health issue going back probably decades". Four people were in critical condition, with "open fractures" and "multiple traumas". Police say Elsman's 13-year-old sister, Ava Elsman, was among the people who were struck but survived.
Elsman was a 2016 graduate of Portage Central High School.
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One person was killed: Ava's sister, Alyssa, who was 18. "She will be deeply missed by the staff and students here".
In 2013, Rojas - while in the Navy in Florida- pleaded guilty to drunken driving, failure to pay a just debt, drunk and disorderly conduct and communicating a threat. A military judge sentenced him to three months confinement.
A week ago he was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.
"He murdered in cold blood", Assistant District Attorney Harrison Schweiloch said.
There is no indication of terrorism, officials said.
"We can and should do more to keep our residents and visitors safe on our streets and street design is the first place to start", said Ydanis Rodriguez, a city councilman from Manhattan who chairs the transportation committee. And I don't care what happens to him.
Rohas, who did not appear to be injured, got out of the vehicle and ran. Many others were seen running away after the auto rammed into that place. She always wanted to make people happy.
"I can't comment on the exact chemical substance", he said. "We wish them Godspeed for a complete recovery". "That's my first-born daughter and I'm never going to see her give me grand kids, I don't get to walk her down the aisle", he said. "It's certainly worth looking at.in light of this", said Tim Tompkins, president of Times Square Alliance, a business development partnership for the area.
Donahey said one woman she was walking next to was struck by the vehicle.
"We wanted to be sure safety measures did not define the public space, while also creating highly effective protective features in the most populated areas", said Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snohetta.
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