Richard Rojas, the 26 year old navy recruit who drove his car into a busy sidewalk in Times Square has faced court today on charges of murder, attempted murder and vehicular homicide, and is due back next week.
His court appearance was quiet, and he did not enter a plea.
Twenty-three people were injured including one killed in the incident, where he drove his burgundy Honda sedan through the crowded sidewalk.
Rojas allegedly told police they should have shot him, that he wanted to “kill them all” and that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP according to a criminal complaint.
Rojas has two previous incidents of drunk driving, once in 2008 and again in 2015, as well as an arrest for threatening a man according to police.
“We know he had something in his system, but we haven’t had the toxicology back yet,” said police department spokesman Adam Navarro.
“it was scary… we heard a big crash, we saw people running away, we went back to the corner and we saw people laying on the sidewalks… and then the car started on fire” said an eyewitness, describing the incident.
There are reports that Rojas said he was “hearing voices” according to law enforcement officials.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has said there is “no indication that this was an act of terrorism” at this stage.