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

The driver who rammed his speeding auto into a group of people in New York City's Times Square said he wanted to "kill them all" and police should have shot him.

Richard Rojas, of the Bronx, N.Y., appears during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York, Friday, May 19, 2017.

New York Police Department (NYPD) charged him late Thursday with one count of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder, and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

The 64-year-old is sedated, using a breathing tube and suffering from bleeding in the brain after the crash, according to his son William Nelson Jr., 35.

"His crime was a random, murderous rampage against the city and the folks who come to enjoy it", said prosecutor Harrison Schweiloch, according to the New York Daily News.

Although only one person was killed, a driver can face multiple counts of vehicular homicide under NY law if other people are seriously injured. Officials are awaiting toxicology results, though a police official said Rojas "had glassy eyes, slurred speech, and was unsteady", during his arrest, the complaint said. After the crash, Rojas bolted out of the vehicle and started running, but he was tackled by the passers by and the police. "We also have Alyssa's 13-year-old sister Ava who is being treated at Cornell hospital for a collapsed lung and broken pelvis". He did not enter a plea and has been held without bail.

Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, but more detailed drug tests were pending, according to two law enforcement officials who were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice.

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A week ago, Rojas had pleaded guilty to a harassment violation after being arrested for pointing a knife at someone he accused of stealing his identity. He has been arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2008 and again in 2015.

"He's been going through a real tough time", Ramos said.

Rojas served at a Navy base in Florida and aboard a destroyer, USS Carney.

His lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment. They don't indicate why.

He was discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.

Police patrols in Times Square, one of the world's busiest districts, were already beefed up in recent years, following a 2010 vehicle bombing attempt.

"Out heart goes out Alyssa, her family, all those that were injured yesterday for what they encountered", Aubry said.

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  • Jack Mann