New York City law enforcement officials say at least one person was killed after a vehicle traveling through the popular tourist area drove into a crowd of pedestrians around lunchtime Thursday.
NY officials immediately allay fears of terrorism by releasing information that the driver of the Honda Accord, identified as Richard Rojas, a 26-year old Navy veteran has a history of arrests for drunken driving. In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the police officials said.
"She looked out for her younger siblings [and] would always play with them", the relative says, noting that they hardly argued. She's been identified as Alyssa Elsman. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured, four of them critically. It was stopped after crashing into a pole on 45th Street and Broadway, where it lied with two of its wheels in the air.
It came to a standstill with smoke and flames escaping the bonnet.
There were no reports of injured Filipinos in an incident in Times Square yesterday based on information from the Consulate General in NY, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday. "I wanted to kill them", Richard Rojas, 26, told police, according to sources.
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Law enforcement sources said Rojas tested negative for alcohol but drug test results were still pending. Police authorities also said he was arrested just last week when he allegedly pulled a kitchen knife on a visitor at his Bronx home.
A auto traveling through Times Square has driven into a crowd of pedestrians, injuring several people.
He said he didn't see or hear anything until people around him began screaming, then he saw why.
The one fatality from Thursday's crash is 18-year-old MI tourist Alyssa Elsman, who was visiting the city with her family.
"My understanding is that no Australians were involved, but of course our consular staff are keeping a very close watch on that", Ms Bishop, in NY for meetings at the United Nations and to lobby for Australia gaining a seat on the UN Human Rights Council, told reporters. Rojas was taken into custody at the scene and the injured were taken to area hospitals.
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Terrorism isn't suspected in the crash. After the vehicle came to a halt, the driver tried to flee before officers took him into custody.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have both visited the scene. And it's terrifying because I'm here all the time. Police confirmed Rojas has been arrested before and had two prior DWIs. "He didn't stop. He just kept going", he said.
Times Square is a magnet for tourists and a hotspot for Brits travelling to the United States. Safety procedures in Times Square may have saved lives in this still awful tragedy.
The White House says that President Trump has been "made aware" of what has happened.
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