19 May, 2017
A man who appeared to be intoxicated steered his auto onto a sidewalk running through the heart of Times Square on Thursday and mowed down pedestrians for three blocks, killing a teenager and injuring 22 others, before he was tackled by bystanders, authorities said.
Rojas's motivation was unclear, but mayor Bill de Blasio said there was "no indication that this was an act of terrorism". The 13-year-old sister of the deceased young woman was among those injured.
The driver, Richard Rohas, 26, of the Bronx, was taken into custody at the scene, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said at news conference about 90 minutes after the incident.
The driver of the auto that careened through New York City's Times Square on Thursday was a U.S. Navy veteran who had been arrested at least four times for offences including drunk driving and threatening someone with a knife, according to police officials and public records. They said he had been arrested twice for drunken driving, in 2008 and 2015, and once earlier this month on a charge of menacing for threatening another man with a knife.
Witnesses reported that he drove the wrong way and on a sidewalk for at least three blocks, mowing down pedestrians. Photos from the scene showed multiple victims on the ground near the maroon Honda sedan, which came to rest on two wheels, wedged up against a light pole and 3-feet-tall metal "bollard" barriers.
First responders are assisting injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in NY, U.S., May 18, 2017.
A woman who used to live in the building, Fati Razak, said she occasionally sees Rojas when she returns to visit her mother. She heard screaming. Fearing the auto would hit her, she ran to a nearby building's revolving door. They say he drove at "a high rate of speed". AP is the largest and most trusted source of independent news and information.
The auto crashed into a pole at 45th Street and Broadway.
Fire officials say a total of 20 people, including the person who died, were hit by the vehicle.
Twenty-two additional people were injured, according to the New York Fire Department.
"He just started running until people tackled him down", one witness told the Associated Press. After his arrest, he told police he was "hearing voices" and expected to die, two law enforcement officials said.
Rojas is now being transported to a facility where he will undergo testing for drugs and alcohol. The officials said Rojas told officers he had been hearing voices.
He said he saw about five people who looked gravely injured - "people, really bad, in front of us". Press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted that Trump was briefed before NY authorities confirmed the death.
Police placed Times Square on lockdown.
Television images taken at the scene showed people being taken away on stretchers.
Annette Proehl, of Pennsylvania, was in Times Square with children on a field trip when she heard the screeching tires of the vehicle and people screaming.