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Prosecutors: Times Square driver wanted to 'kill them all'

20 May 2017

Police do not suspect a link to terrorism and the driv.

Investigators look under a smashed auto that sits on the corner of Broadway and 45th Street in New York's Times Square after ploughing through a crowd of pedestrians at lunchtime on Thursday, May 18, 2017. Police do not suspect a.

"A woman in front on the sidewalk was hit and tossed before then vehicle reached 44th st, continued plowing people down at full speed up to 45th street, where it was stopped after crashing into more people and the light post", posted Instagram user Ed G Val, who from across the street "saw the auto speeding north on the west sidewalk of southbound 7th Ave".

A U.S. Navy veteran plowed his auto into pedestrians in New York City's packed Times Square yesterday, killing an 18-year-old woman and injuring 22 people.

"Preliminarily it looks more like a vehicle accident than anything else", a NY police spokesman said. Police are looking into whether he was driving under the influence of drugs and say charges are pending.

"He murdered in cold blood", Assistant District Attorney Harrison Schweiloch said during the brief proceeding.

That 18-year-old woman was killed and 22 more were injured including the dead victim's 13-year-old sister, officials said.

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Her sister remained in the hospital in critical condition, with a collapsed lung and broken pelvis, Aubry said. One eyewitness described the situation as "chaos" as people lay on the ground with serious head injuries.

The mayor told WNYC Radio Friday that Rojas had "demonstrated mental health issues going back to childhood" that "went unaddressed even during the time he was in the United States military".

He didn't enter a plea and was held without bail.

Rojas was in custody and unable to comment.

The police had taped off many of blocks around Times Square.

The deadly rampage on Thursday started after the driver allegedly made a U-turn, then steered the vehicle into the packed sidewalk where it rammed dozens of pedestrians for a three block stretch. In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the law enforcement officials said.

After the wreck he emerged from his vehicle running, shouting and jumping before being subdued by police and bystanders in a chaotic scene. He was swinging his arms at the same time, said Ken Bradix, a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant who tackled Rojas.

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Just a week before the latest incident, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary.

"You're trying to steal my identity", he said, according to prosecutors.

The US Navy said he served from September 2011 to May 2014, reaching the rank of electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

He was arrested a year later at a naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, where officials said he attacked a cab driver, shouted "my life is over", and threatened to kill police, according to court records.

Before striking pedestrians, the 2009 Honda Accord was "out of control", an emergency management official said.

Navy records also showed he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but the reports did not elaborate on the reason.

A Navy official says Richard Rojas had been discharged as the result of a special court martial.

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Prosecutors: Times Square driver wanted to 'kill them all'