The man arrested for killing one person and injuring 22 others when he intentionally drove his car onto the sidewalk in Times Square on Thursday may have been trying to commit “suicide by cop.”
Richard Rojas, 26, has been charged with one count of murder and 20 counts of attempted murder for his horrific actions.
A surveillance camera caught the moment when the Navy veteran, who was dishonorably discharged in 2014, crashed his car into a pole on 7th Avenue at 45th Street and emerged screaming like a madman.
“He began screaming, no particular words but just utter screaming. He was swinging his arms at the same time,” said Ken Bradix, a bouncer at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant who tackled Rojas.
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Law enforcement officers and other bystanders helped subdue Rojas.
“You were supposed to shoot me. I wanted to kill them,” he told police after being taken into custody.
Rojas also told investigators that God had told him to carry out the attack.
“Law enforcement sources say that Rojas appeared to have smoked the synthetic drug, also known as K2, before to the crash,” The Daily Mail reported.
Rojas served in the Navy from 2011-2014, but was discharged after multiple run-ins with the law for violent behavior. He spent a couple of months in military prison in Charleston, S.C. in 2013.
After being discharged from the service, friends told the New York Post, he drank heavily and would rant about “demons and devils.”
The one fatality from Rojas rampage was 18-year-old Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman, who was standing near her 13-year-old sister when she was struck by the car.
Four of the 22 others injured were in serious condition, but are expected to live, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
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