Times Square Driver: I Tried to Get Help From Vet's Center

Richard Rojas says he can't remember mowing down tourists
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2017 12:07 AM CDT
Times Square Driver 'Was Trying to Get Help'
Richard Rojas, of the Bronx, N.Y., appears during his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, in New York, Friday, May 19, 2017.   (R. Umar Abassi)

A man accused of mowing down pedestrians in Times Square, killing a teenage Michigan tourist and injuring 22 others, says he had been trying to get psychiatric help. In a jailhouse interview on Saturday, Richard Rojas told the New York Post that he recently spoke to a mental health counselor at a local veteran's center but they never got back to him. "I was trying to get help," Rojas told the newspaper from Rikers Island. "I wanted to fix my life. I wanted to get a job. Get a girlfriend." Rojas, who lived with his mother in the Bronx, drove his car Thursday through Times Square, then steered his car onto a sidewalk, plowing through tourists for three blocks before crashing into protective barriers.

After he was detained, the 26-year-old Navy veteran said he wanted to "kill them all" and that police should have shot him to stop him, a prosecutor said at his court appearance on Friday. They said Rojas also admitted to smoking marijuana laced with PCP sometime before the crash, the AP reports. Officials are awaiting toxicology reports. "I just want to apologize to all the victims' families ... I want to apologize to my mom," Rojas told the Post. "The last thing I remember is driving in my car," Rojas recalled. "Then, I woke up in the precinct ... I was terrified." (Read more Times Square stories.)

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