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Times Square rampage: Three still critical, driver charged with murder

20 May 2017

Law enforcement officials say a man accused of steering his vehicle onto one of the busiest sidewalks in the USA and mowing down pedestrians for three blocks told police he was "hearing voices".

A law enforcement official says a auto that plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in Times Square killed one person and injured about 20 others.

TOPSHOT - A police officer tries to take pictures of the scene as other police officers secure the area near a auto after it plunged into pedestrians in Times Square in NY on May 18, 2017.

Rojas was arrested on scene after he was driving speedily to strike dozens of pedestrians in New York City's Times Square on Thursday, killing one and injuring 22 more.

"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.

Richard Rojas entered no plea during his court appearance on Friday, a day after he apparently killed a teenage girl and injured at least 20 people in Times Square. Neither his lawyer nor any of his weeping supporters had comment Friday. His family and friends who attended the hearing cried outside court and didn't speak to reporters.

Rojas was remanded to custody today and will return to court on May 24.

The Police chief said Rojas was driving his Honda vehicle at a "high rate of speed" around noon along the sidewalk through three streets, hitting pedestrians along the way before coming to a stop after colliding with metal railings at a street corner.

Ken Bradix has been a bouncer at Planet Hollywood for 17 years.

After Rojas crashed, he exited the auto and prosecutors quoted him as saying, "I wanted to kill them".

Rojas was arrested and was being tested for drugs and alcohol by the NYPD.

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In total 19 people were hospitalized, one was treated at the scene, seven were admitted, three were in critical condition, and a 38 -year-old woman from Canada was in very critical condition.

Alyssa Elsman, 18, a tourist from Portage, Mich., was killed.

A memorial has been set up on the west side of Broadway between 42nd and 43rd Streets in Times Square to commemorate the victims from Thursday's fatal vehicle crash that killed one person and injured another 22.

A friend of the victim, Olivia Lemke, said the Elsman family went on a family trip once a year to NY. She could walk into a room and everybody would just be happy to see her. She always wanted to make people happy.

"She will be deeply missed by the staff and students here", Mr Alburtus said.

The picture that quickly emerged of Rojas from neighbors and authorities was of a man with problems.

The Navy vet was arrested just last week and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

He also has two previous drunken driving cases.

Navy records show Rojas enlisted in September 2011 and was based in IL and Florida, working as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Times Square rampage: Three still critical, driver charged with murder