The sole fatality in today’s Times Square vehicular incident has reportedly been identified as an 18-year-old girl from Michigan who was visiting New York with her family.
According to The New York Post, Alyssa Elsman died when 26-year-old Richard Rojas plowed into her, her sister and several other people in what appears to have been a suicide-by-cop attempt.
The outlet goes on to state that Elsman died at the scene, while emergency workers took her 13-year-old sister to hospital.
Elsman’s boyfriend Trevor West reportedly told The New York Post that Elsman’s mother and friend were also on vacation with her.
As for the perpetrator, Richard Rojas, Heavy.com reports that he “is a formal Naval technician (other than honorably discharged) who allegedly told police he thought ‘the end of the world was coming.'”
Paige Kelton with Action News Jax shared the following screenshot showing Rojas’ naval background.
— Paige Kelton (@PaigeANjax) May 18, 2017
Another New York Post article reports that he was attempting suicide-by-cop.
“You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them,” said the 26-year-old to police according to the outlet.
Despite early reports, The New York Post states Rojas was not drunk at the time of today’s rampage but police are still testing for drugs.
Rojas reportedly has numerous prior arrests on his record, including two DWIs.
Most recently, The Daily Mail reports, Rojas was arrested last week for pulling a knife on a man in the Bronx.
“He was having a lot of bad nightmares,” said one of Rojas’ friends according to The New York Post. “He should’ve gotten professional help. He would talk about demons and devils and conspiracy theories.”
Another friend reportedly told the outlet that Rojas had just received his car back.
“They had taken his car for lack of payment,” that friend reportedly said. “He had just gotten it back and was happy.”
That was reportedly the same car Rojas would use to plow through Times Square today.
Footage from CBS New York shows New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio holding a press briefing following the incident.
He stated that 23 people were injured – including the deceased – and added that Rojas is in custody.
“Based on the indication that we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terror,” he continued, adding that city officials were still “reinforcing key locations around the city” as a precaution.
De Blasio also reportedly visited the families of victims in hospital and encouraged them to be strong.