The Navy veteran suspected of driving his car into pedestrians in New York reportedly told police he had been hearing voices at the time.
Richard Rojas, 26, is accused of steering his car onto the pavement in the heart of Times Square, driving for three blocks and hitting 23 pedestrians along the way. One of them – a teenager – died.
He then walked from the vehicle waving his arms before being tackled by members of the public, including a ticket seller and a security guard at a Planet Hollywood restaurant.
Initially, there were fears the incident had been a terrorist attack but investigators discounted that and are focusing on Rojas’s sobriety and mental health.
Rojas, who lived in the Bronx, said he was hearing voices and had expected to die, according to law enforcement officials quoted by the Associated Press.
He tested negative for alcohol but it is understood that he is also undergoing tests while in police custody to see if he had taken drugs.
People who lived near Rojas described him as a friendly man who had been having problems.
Last week, he was arrested and charged after allegedly threatening a notary with a knife. He had accused the notary of stealing his identity.
In 2008 and 2015, he was arrested for drink-driving. After pleading guilty in 2015, he lost his driving license for 90 days.
During this time, he had told police he was being harassed and followed.
Rojas enlisted in the US Navy in 2011 and served on the destroyer USS Carney in 2012.
His most recent base was at Jacksonville in Florida but he was discharged three years ago after being court-martialled for reasons that have not been disclosed.
- ^ steering his car onto the pavement in the heart of Times Square (news.sky.com)
- ^ NYC crash witness – It was a gruesome scene (news.sky.com)
Howard University security guards appear to dump wheelchair-bound woman onto sidewalk. (ABC7)
In an exclusive video obtained by 7 ON YOUR SIDE Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor, three Howard University security guards appear to dump a wheelchair-bound woman onto a sidewalk and just walk away right outside of Howard University Hospital.
The video shows the woman’s feet almost sticking straight up as the guards move her down the sidewalk. They stop and she tumbles out of the wheelchair. One of the guards tosses a bag onto the ground and then the security guards turn and walk away. The unidentified woman remains motionless on the sidewalk and nobody in the video comes to her aid. You can hear one bystander say: “What the freak are they doing to this lady? She just slipped off of the cart. What is freaking going on here?”
A security guard walking away from the woman on the sidewalk says, “Leave her there.”
The person who gave the video to Taylor and the 7 ON YOUR SIDE I-Team does not want to be identified, but says: “I was actually appalled. I was shocked because I never seen this before.”
Eventually, DC Fire & EMS arrived at the scene, but the woman reportedly refused treatment. The I-Team gave Howard University Hospital the video days ago and right now an internal investigation is ongoing.
Howard University Hospital CEO Jim Diegel emailed the following statement to the I-Team in relation to the video:
At Howard University Hospital, our highest purpose is the safety and well-being of every patient. The video is profoundly disturbing to watch and does not reflect our core values dignity, compassion and respect for every single person that entrusts us with their care. It depicts procedures that we do not and will never tolerate. On April 24th, the woman featured in the video was appropriately treated by Howard University Hospital for medical issues and was recommended for discharge. The actions taken after her discharge, however, were a significant departure from the normal process.
Upon receipt of the video, taken by a bystander, HUH took immediate action and launched a thorough investigation. The individuals involved in this incident have been removed from their duties pending the outcome of this investigation. We have already taken necessary actions to ensure an incident such as this never happens again. Those steps include appropriate training and a review of necessary disciplinary actions. We take the sacred trust with our patients and our community very seriously. Our commitment is to express our core values in the delivery of care and service to patients we serve every single day.
The woman has yet to be identified.
On Wednesday, 7 ON YOUR SIDE Investigative Reporter Scott Taylor is sitting down with hospital officials on camera to get more answers.
Sportsmens Gun and Pawn Shop in Barboursville, West Virginia (Photo: WSAZ)
More than 100 guns were stolen from a West Virginia pawn shop Sunday night, causing anxiety for some community members. WSAZ reported the burglary took place at the Sportsmens Gun & Pawn Shop in the town of Barboursville, West Virginia, late Sunday night. Authorities have reported the thieves got away with more than 100 firearms, a number that community member Donna Burgess said has her worried.
Unnerving, said Burgess. I m not against guns but I m for responsibility of guns, somebody is responsible for them.
Nearby realtor Brooke Mullins, mother of two, also voiced concerns.
It really hits close to home when things like that happen, she said. That s very scary, very scary. We have enough problems around here with shootings. This just adds to the problems.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating the case. The ATF told WSAZ that as of Monday afternoon, agents were still tallying up the stolen items and gathering evidence.