Murder charge for 26-year-old man in Times Square vehicle carnage

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On Thursday, a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people in New York City's busy Times Square.

A picture of the suspect on the TMZ website shows him with a ripped t-shirt after being subdued and surrounded by police officers.

He's accused of plowing through pedestrians in a crowded Times Square, killing one person. He barreled straight up the sidewalk, knocking down some pedestrians as others ran in terror, before he crashed his vehicle into protective barriers.

Police believe Rojas was under the influence of synthetic marijuana ahead of the crash.

Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old high school student from Portage, Mich., was killed and her 13-year-old sister was injured.

"He murdered in cold blood", assistant district attorney Harrison Schweiloch said.

Richard Rojas faces charges including murder, and 20 counts of attempted murder.

His lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment.

Rojas is next scheduled to appear in court on 24 May.

Police say he drove his auto for three blocks into Times Square midday Thursday, hitting almost two dozen people before steel security barriers finally stopped him. A group that included a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant tackled him.

According to the criminal complaint, police said Rojas "had glassy eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady".

The hallucinogenic drug PCP can cause users to become delusional, violent or suicidal, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center.

"We also have Alyssa's 13-year-old sister Eva, who is being treated at Cornell Hospital for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis", Aubry said.

Grief counselors are at Alyssa Elsman's MI high school Friday, offering support to students and staff.

"Richard Rojas, he's a 26-year-old individual from the Bronx".

Another friend, Hansel Guerrero, told the New York Times that Rojas began discussing conspiracy theories about the government and was often physically threatening. She could walk into a room and everybody would just be happy to see her.

In the Bronx, neighborhood acquaintances said Rojas was a friendly man who had been having problems.

"He didn't stop", said Asa Lowe, of Brooklyn, who was standing outside a store when he saw people scatter. He pleaded guilty to an infraction in 2015 and was ordered to complete a drunken-driving program and lost his license for 90 days.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and served for part of 2012 aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.

During his arrest Thursday, Rojas allegedly told police: "You were supposed to shoot me!"

Two law enforcement officials say Rojas told police he was hearing voices and expected to die. In 2013, he spent two months in a Navy prison after being court martialed.