Suspect in deadly Times Square mayhem charged with murder

Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old resident of Portage, Michigan, who was visiting the city, was killed.

Police said he drove his auto for three blocks in Times Square, hitting almost two dozen people, before steel security barriers finally stopped him.

The driver who rammed into a crowded Times Square on Thursday, killing a woman and injuring 22 others, has been charged with 2o counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, according to the New York Police Department.

Rojas had been arrested in 2008 in Queens and 2015 in Manhattan for drunk driving, officials said at the press conference.

The White House said President Donald Trump has been "made aware" of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates as the situation unfolds. "That's my friend. I care about him, and it hurts".

Harrison Ramos, one of Rojas' neighbours, told the AP that the navy veteran was going through "a real tough time" after coming back from duty in 2014.

"Do you feel safe?"

According to police, the vehicle driver is in custody, it is believed to be an isolated incident. He pleaded guilty to a harassment violation.

In the Times Square incident, Rojas was charged with one count of murder in the second degree, aggravated vehicular homicide and multiple counts of attempted murder, a NY police spokesman said in an email late on Thursday.

Man charged with murder after NY vehicle carnage
The woman killed in the incident Thursday has been identified as Alyssa Elsman , an 18-year-old tourist from Portage , Michigan . A woman, 18, was reportedly pronounced dead at the scene and her sister was also injured, according to the news outlet.

Rojas is to be arraigned Friday. It was unclear when Rojas, who was in custody, would get a lawyer or be arraigned. He served as an electrician's mate fireman apprentice, mostly based in Florida.

While stationed in Jacksonville, Rojas was arrested for battery and resisting an officer without violence, both misdemeanours.

After the wreck he emerged from his vehicle running, yelling and jumping before being subdued by police and bystanders in a chaotic scene.

The suspect, who suffered from "psychological issues", told police he expected officers to shoot him, according to the source.

Navy records also showed he spent two months in a military prison in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 2013, but the reports did not elaborate on the reason. He reportedly left the Navy in May 2014.

Images that emerged shortly after the incident showed him being restrained by officers and bundled into a police auto.

Tourist Michael Rickerby, 24, from Nashville, Tennessee, who was in the Big Apple with a group of pals, said mass panic ensued when the driver started speeding on the sidewalk.

"It was more of a surreal thing", she said.

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