Richard Rojas, the suspect in the Times Square crash that injured 23 people, killing one, was photographed looking crazed and jumping in the street.
TMZ ran a series of dramatic photos of Rojas, 26, who is accused of ramming his car into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square, killing an 18-year-old girl from Michigan, and leaving several other people in critical condition.
Authorities say they are investigating whether the crash was substance abuse-related, as Rojas has a DUI history, and they say that they do not believe the incident was terrorism-related. Those fears arose immediately after the incident, though, as terrorists in other countries have increasingly used vehicles as a method of attack.
However, NBC News is now reporting that Rojas blew zero on a blood-alcohol test after the crash. Authorities are testing him for drugs, reports NBC. However, ABC7 reports that Rojas allegedly tested positive for drugs and that police suspect he may have ingested synthetic marijuana, known as K2. They are conducting tests to determine for sure.
CNN reported otherwise.
The suspect “tested positive for PCP and told police that God made him do it,” CNN reported, adding that he expected officers to shoot him. However, authorities have not confirmed that account.
Heavy has obtained an arrest report from 2012 in Florida that shows Rojas was accused of assaulting a cab driver when he was in the Navy and threatening to kill “all police,” although the charges were dropped.
Rojas is from the Bronx, is 26-years-old, and is a U.S. citizen who is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, authorities said at a news conference.
In the news conference, New York’s mayor Bill DeBlasio and the police commissioner described a horrific sequence of events, in which Rojas is accused of driving the wrong way down Seventh Avenue before his car allegedly jumped a curb and plowed into pedestrians. One witness described “clumps” of people lying bloodied in the street, and photos showed a horrific scene of injured people lying on the pavement.
The victim was identified as Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan visiting New York with her family. (Note: The photos in the rest of this story are graphic.) Here is a photo of Alyssa from her Facebook page:
According to the mayor and police, Rojas has an arrest history that includes two DWIs. He also has a prior arrest for menacing.
At the scene, Rojas was apprehended by citizen good Samaritans, including a Planet Hollywood bouncer, according to CBS New York.
A witness told CBS that “the driver tried to run from the scene and the bouncer from Planet Hollywood hit him, so we jumped on top of him and ripped his shirt, wanted to make sure he had no gun or knife on him.”
The ripped shirt might explain why he was later photographed wearing a red, not brown, shirt.
The car remained at the scene for some time.
You can read more about Richard Rojas here: