Officials in New York ruled out terrorism as a factor in yesterday’s horrific accident in Times Square in which a driver initially described as intoxicated plowed into a crowd of pedestrians, killing one and sending two dozen more to the hospital, several with life-threatening injuries. But according to comments made by the driver and newly released video, this was no accident.
According to the New York Post and other sources, the driver, identified as 26-year-old Richard Rojas of the Bronx, was attempting to commit “suicide by cop.” He is quoted as telling police following his bloody rampage, “You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them.”
If nothing else, Rojas had a police record for driving drunk for which he was arrested twice, once in 2008 and again in 2015. After the second arrest, his license was suspended for 90, though obviously he had no business being permitted ever again behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Judging from an incident that happened a little over a week ago, Rojas was generally unhinged. On May 11, he threatened a man who had come to his home to get an annuity notarized, holding a knife to the man’s throat and telling him, “You’re trying to steal my identity.”
Yesterday’s incident occurred just before noon. Typically Times Square receives close to 100,000 visitors a day, meaning the sidewalks are apt to be crowded at any time — but that’s especially true before lunch on a sunny day.
According to reports released by the Associated Press this morning, Rojas initially tested negative for alcohol, although more detailed drug tests are said to be pending. He has been charged with 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.
A video of yesterday’s carnage follows, but be warned, it is not for the fainthearted.