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US navy veteran charged with murder

THE US navy veteran who steered his car into pedestrians in Times Square has been charged with murder and held without bail.

During a brief court appearance in Manhattan criminal court on Friday, Judge Tamiko Amaker ordered Richard Rojas, 26, remanded, local media reported.

Rojas was arrested on scene after he was driving speedily to strike dozens of pedestrians in New York City's Times Square on Thursday, killing one and injuring 22 more.

New York Police Department (NYPD) charged him late Thursday with one count of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder, and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

Rojas, who stood handcuffed and did not speak during Friday's brief court hearing, told police "I wanted to kill them" and said he was high on marijuana laced with PCP when he was arrested, according to court documents.

Rojas reportedly emerged from his vehicle after the wreck, running, yelling and jumping before being subdued by police and bystanders.

Killed was Alyssa Elsman, an 18-year-old girl from Michigan and her 13-year-old sister was among the 22 injured, four of them critically.

Officials say Rojas had served in the Navy but was discharged in 2014 following disciplinary problems. He has been arrested for driving while intoxicated in 2008 and again in 2015. He was also detained earlier this month for menacing.

Rojas' motivation was unclear, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that there was "no indication that this was an act of terrorism."


 

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