Yesterday’s Times Square attack which left 1 person dead and 22 others injured will not be treated as a terrorist-related attack according to police. However, police say they are considering the possibility that the crash was deliberate.
Richas Rojas, who ploughed into pedestrians, may have acted deliberately and is believed to have wanted to commit what is known in police parlance as ‘suicide by cops’.
He told police that he wanted to be killed by officers because he “heard demons in his head” and “voices telling him to hurt people”. It was also revealed that he has a history of psychiatric problems. Police went on to disclose that as Rojas was being arrested, he was acting out of control and seemed impaired.
Rojas’ action led to the death of 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman, from Ohio, who had been enjoying a visit to New York with her family. Only a few minutes before the accident that cost her life on Times Square, she posted a ‘Boomerang’ video from Times Square on her Instagram page. The body of Alyssa lay at the scene, covered with a bloodstained blanket while a police officer kept watch nearby, shaking his head.
Speaking on the incident which occurred just before noon on Thursday, a bystander, Josh Duboff, who works at the nearby Thomson Reuters headquarters, said he survived by leaping out of harm’s way just before the car got to him.He said shoes were scattered on the sidewalk, abandoned by people who escaped and those who got hit.
“People were being hit and rolling off the car,” he said.
One of the injured, Cheryl Howard, had blood dripping down her right arm and a bruise above her left eye. She and her daughter were shopping when the car sped toward them.
“I’m so freaked out!” Howard’s daughter said. “They mowed everyone down.”