Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Man charged with murder after vehicle mows down pedestrians in Times Square

Man charged with murder after vehicle mows down pedestrians in Times Square

A vehicle rests on a security barrier in New York's Times Square after driving through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring at least a dozen people, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

A motor vehicle incident in Manhattan's bustling Times Square Thursday, May 18, 2017, has left at least 13 people injured, fire officials said.

Times Square was packed with visitors enjoying one of the hottest days of the year when the attack began shortly before noon local time.

New York City law enforcement officials say at least one person was killed after a auto traveling through the popular tourist area drove into a crowd of pedestrians around lunchtime Thursday.

Social media images show injured people on the street, a vehicle upended at an angle and crowds gathered in the heart of the tourist hub.

A man with a history of drunken driving, has been charged with murder after police say he barreled a auto through the crowded sidewalks in Manhattan's Time Square, leaving one person dead and injuring 22.

The city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, said there was no indication it was an act of terrorism.

An 18-year-old woman died after the vehicle mounted the pavement before hitting security bollards at the tourist magnet.

Miss Elsman's boyfriend Trevor West paid tribute to the teenager from MI, whose 13-year-old sister was also among the injured.

The driver, Richard Rojas, a Bronx native, was taken into custody and being tested for alcohol.

A witness who was walking along 42nd Street told dpa she had to physically leap out of the way to avoid being hit by the driver as the auto came down 7th Avenue.

Richard Rojas, 26, said he wanted officers to shoot him dead and was under the influence of the drug PCP and synthetic marijuana K2 - both of which can cause hallucinations.

The auto appeared to catch fire after crashing.

About 90 minutes after the incident, commerce along the street continued, with customers lining up at a nearby McDonald's, bus tour vendors hawking trips, and tourists going about their vacations, taking pictures and videos of one another with the Crossroads of the World in the background. I turn around because someone screamed.

Behind the suspect, a man in a red shirt lies on the ground below the auto, apparently injured.

"When he came out of the vehicle, he started running towards 45th Street".

"I looked back and she was in a pile on the street", Donahey said.

She continued: "I wouldn't be here now if I hadn't crossed the street. It happened too fast".

Rojas is said to have told detectives: "You were supposed to shoot me!"

"That stretch between 42nd and 43rd Street is always the most crowded".

"She was an incredible baker, and was very involved with our culinary program", Alburtus said.

Rojas had been arrested at least twice previously for driving while intoxicated, once in 2008 and once in 2015, police said. According to Reuters news agency, he said after being arrested: "You were supposed to shoot me!"

Law enforcement sources said charges are pending.

Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said. Law enforcement officials report that one pedestrian has died. The carnage raised immediate fears of a terrorist attack, but investigators quickly turned their focus to the sobriety and mental health of the driver, identified as Bronx resident Richard Rojas.

William Aubry, the New York Police Department chief of Manhattan South Detectives, said that three victims were in critical condition Friday. At first, I thought someone was intentional doing it. "As facts continue to emerge, my heart goes out to the victims of this awful tragedy, as well as their families". Streets in the area were closed overnight and reopened Friday.

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