NEW YORK — Richard Rojas approached the busy intersection of West 42nd Street and 7th Ave. in New York City’s Times Square a few minutes before noon Thursday and paused his maroon Honda Accord to allow cars to drive past before making a near complete U-turn onto the sidewalk,, according to police.
Deputy Chief William Aubry, the commander of Manhattan detectives, held a press conference Friday with new details on the fatal incident that left a teenage girl dead and spread fear through one of the most nation’s most crowded and popular tourist destinations.
After his U-turn, police said Rojas continued to accelerate as, striking 21 pedestrians, one of whom died from her injuries.
“He waited for those cars to pass, and then, that goes to his state of mind,” Aubry said.
, an 18-year-old visiting from Michigan, was killed. Her 13-year-old sister suffered a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, Aubry said.
In total, 19 of those injured were treated at hospitals. Three remain in critical condition and “one is very critical,” Aubry said.
Rojas, a U.S. citizen, has had prior run-ins with police, including drunken driving incidents. On May 14, he was arrested for menacing.
Police sources told CBS New York that Rojas made rambling statements after being arrested. They also described him as emotionally disturbed. Rojas passed a breathalyzer test, but an initial test came up positive for PCP and marijuana. A source tells CBS News the suspect claimed to have heard voices, wanted to die, and did it for god.
Aubry said police are awaiting a full toxicology report.
Rojas, a 26-year-old from the Bronx, is facing multiple charges, including murder, attempted murder and aggravated vehicular homicide.
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