Man who ran over pedestrians was 'hearing voices'

Car rams Times Square pedestrians, kills one, injures others

An 18-year-old woman killed by a auto that barrelled down a pavement in New York's Times Square was a tourist, police said.

Rojas drove his vehicle from the Bronx to Times Square on Thursday, where he sped into the bustling Crossroads of the World, hitting almost two dozen people on the sidewalk before steel security barriers finally stopped him, authorities said.

Twenty-three people were struck by the vehicle before it was stopped by a security barrier.

In this image made from video provided by Oscar Navarro Reyes, Richard Rojas is arrested after a fatal automobile accident on New York City's Times Square, Thursday, May 18, 2017.

In the Times Square incident, Rojas was charged with one count of murder in the second degree, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder, a NY police spokesman said in an email late on Thursday.

Manhattan prosecutors said in court that Richard Rojas told police after his arrest that he wanted to "kill them all", and that officers should have shot him.

Times Square was the scene of the most serious security alert in New since the September 11, 2001 attacks when Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani immigrant, planted a auto bomb at the intersection on May 1, 2010.

A week ago, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

The woman who died has been identified as Alyssa Elsman from Portage, Michigan. Rojas returned from his service at the Navy with a drinking problem and had posted "crazy stuff" on social media, according to Harrison Ramos, a friend.

Two officials told The New York Post that Mr Rojas had tested negative for alcohol, but one official said that preliminary tests indicated he was under the influence of PCP, or angel dust, a mood-altering drug.

Rojas has several prior criminal cases that paint a picture of a troubled man.

Police showed up "seconds later", he said. He pleaded guilty and said he was aiming to avenge deaths from USA missiles fired from drones operating over Pakistan.

Rojas has been arrested twice in New York - in 2015 and 2008 - for drunken driving, New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.

Rojas's motivation was unclear, but mayor Bill de Blasio said there was "no indication that this was an act of terrorism".

Rojas enlisted in the US Navy in 2011 and served on the destroyer USS Carney in 2012. Twenty-two were injured. Four of them were in critical condition, three were in serious condition - and all are expected to survive. They don't indicate why. Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla., before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.

The mayhem in Times Square began at noon [local time] on a hot, clear day that brought large crowds of people into the streets to enjoy the good weather.

"I was just doing something that I hope people would do, because I was trying to do the right thing", he said.

Elsman was a 2016 graduate of Portage Central High School.

Annette Proehl, of Pennsylvania, was in Times Square with children on a field trip when she heard the screeching tires of the vehicle and people screaming.

"If you didn't know her, you might think she's reserved or shy", school principal Eric Alburtus said. "But if you could talk to her for a minute, you'd realize she was engaging".

The apartment building where Rojas lives in the Bronx was cordoned off by police Thursday.

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