Police rule out terrorism in Times Square incident

Posted: Updated:
The suspect, Richard Rojas, is a Navy veteran from the Bronx with a history of alcohol-related arrests, authorities say. The suspect, Richard Rojas, is a Navy veteran from the Bronx with a history of alcohol-related arrests, authorities say.
Rojas is accused of slamming his car into almost two dozen people, including 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan who died in the incident. Rojas is accused of slamming his car into almost two dozen people, including 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan who died in the incident.
THE BRONX -

Authorities say they have ruled out terrorism as a motive after a Bronx man slammed a car into a crowd of people in Times Square Thursday, killing one and injuring 22.

The suspect, Richard Rojas, is a Navy veteran from the Bronx with a history of alcohol-related arrests, authorities say.

Rojas, a 26-year-old from Walton Avenue, has at least two prior arrests for allegedly driving while intoxicated in 2008 and 2015. Police arrested him at the scene Thursday and tested him for alcohol and drugs. As of Thursday evening, police said the results came back negative for alcohol. The drug test was still pending.

A friend defended Rojas, calling him a good man who served his country -- before admitting that the 26-year-old used alcohol to cope with "demons" and war nightmares.

"I'm going to defend my friend, because that's my friend," said Harrison Ramos, who identified himself as a close friend of Rojas. "When I heard this, it broke my heart. I just wish I would've been there for him."

But Rojas is accused of slamming his car into almost two dozen people, including 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Michigan who died in the incident. Her 13-year-old sister was also injured.

Ramos says Rojas began drinking heavily when he left the Navy.

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