Woman Killed in Times Square Was 18-Year-Old Tourist

Alyssa Elsman and her sister were both hit by a car driving on the sidewalk
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2017 6:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – The 18-year-old woman killed when a car slammed into Times Square crowds Thursday in New York has been identified as Alyssa Elsman, the New York Post reports. Elsman, a Michigan native, was visiting New York with her family. According to the Detroit Free Press, Elsman graduated from Portage Central High School in 2016. Principal Eric Alburtus remembers her as a "wonderful young lady" who used to sell the muffins she made in cooking class to other students. "We're all kind of a mess," he says. Elsman's 13-year-old sister was one of the 22 people injured when a car sped along the sidewalk for three and a half blocks.

While police don't believe the deadly incident was terrorism, they are looking at the possibility it was on purpose, NBC New York reports. The suspect, 26-year-old Richard Rojas, has a history of psychiatric issues and problems with drugs and alcohol. He was dishonorably discharged from the Navy in 2015 after resisting a DUI arrest in Florida. Police say after his arrest Thursday, Rojas told them he heard voices. Sources say Rojas didn't have alcohol in his system when he was arrested but was under the influence of an unidentified substance. (Read more Times Square stories.)

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