NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A man accused of intentionally mowing down pedestrians in Times Square, killing one and injuring 22 others, was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury.
Richard Rojas did not appear for the brief appearance in a Manhattan court. The charges have not yet been made public, but the 26-year-old Rojas was previously arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder.
An arraignment was set for July 13 and he doesn’t have to enter a plea until then. His lawyer had no comment.
Around noon last Thursday, police said Rojas sped his car down Seventh Avenue before making a sharp U-turn and jumping the curb at 42nd Street, where the first person was hit.
“He continues on from 42nd to 43rd, accelerating. He continues onto 44th, 45th, he actually goes underneath a scaffold,” William Aubry, NYPD’s chief of Manhattan South detectives, said last week. “Parts of his car, the side-view mirror, license plates are falling off as he’s striking these pedestrians. People are being dragged. They’re on top of the car.”
The vehicle eventually stopped on top of a metal barrier before bursting into flames. Rojas was knocked to the ground by a nearby restaurant bouncer, who with others helped hold him until police took him away.
Rojas told police after his arrest that he had been smoking marijuana laced with the hallucinogenic drug PCP, according to a criminal complaint. He said he wanted to “kill them all” and police should have shot him to stop him, prosecutors said.
The crash killed Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old tourist from Portage, Michigan, and injured her 13-year-old sister, Ava. A barricade at the site of the crash has become a makeshift memorial to Alyssa Elsman, adorned with flowers, photos and handwritten messages.
Rojas has several prior criminal cases. He pleaded guilty two weeks ago to harassment in the Bronx after he was accused of pulling a knife on a notary in his home.
“You’re trying to steal my identity,” he said, according to prosecutors.
He also had two previous drunken driving cases.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)