A driver plowed through a crowd on New York City’s Times Square on May 18. One person was killed and 22 people were injured.
The driver was identified as 26-year-old Bronx resident Richard Rojas. He drove against traffic at a high speed before mounting the sidewalk and hitting pedestrians. He didn’t stop until he hit a pole at 45th and Broadway. The vehicle nearly flipped over upon impact.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the media at a press conference at Times Square.
“The perpetrator is in custody. He’s a United States citizen and a former member of the armed forces with the United States Navy. He has a criminal history,” said de Blasio. “Based on the information we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”
“That being said, we are reinforcing key locations around the city with our anti-terror units of the NYPD,” he added.
“We all feel deeply right now for those who were injured and for their families, and particularly for the family of the young woman who was lost,” said the mayor.
Names have not been released for the injured or the killed.
The 22 injured people were sent to hospitals. Among them, four people are in critical condition.
“None of those four are right now likely to perish. Conditions can change. We’re very hopeful, that the fact they were treated quickly and removed quickly, that they will survive,” said Daniel A. Nigro, commissioner of the New York City Fire Department.
Rojas has had a few arrests, including two DUIs. The investigation is ongoing.
Witnesses of the incident were shaken.
“When we heard noise we look up and we saw the car running toward us,” said Kaoru Emura. “There are people who are on the floor, four or five people.”
“Some people didn’t move at all. Some people have cuts and have blood,” she added.
“I heard a noise but I couldn’t see it really because I was one block away. Everyone went crazy and now the streets are closed,” said Danny Rotkier, a tourist from Uruguay.
“I come every year for tourism. I love the city. It’s incredible, we don’t feel safe anymore, not even in New York City. It’s crazy.”