Man who ran over pedestrians was 'hearing voices'

Emergency workers respond to the scene in Times Square

Emergency workers respond to the scene in Times Square

Rojas is to be arraigned Friday. He was swinging his arms at the same time, said Ken Bradix, a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant who tackled Rojas. Police then handcuffed him.

It isn't clear when Rojas might get a lawyer.

The auto was lodged on a steel bollard - of which there are more than 200 on Times Square sidewalks to stop vehicles from coming through.

The suspect had served in the U.S. Navy but was discharged after disciplinary problems, military officials said. Details were not immediately available. The five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide is for the death of Elsman and four injured people who were in critical condition.

Rojas enlisted in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. He was most recently based at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, and was discharged in 2014.

Navy records show that in 2013 he spent two months at a naval prison in Charleston, South Carolina. They don't indicate why.

18-year-old Alyssa Elsman from Portage, Michigan was reportedly visiting the city with her family when tragedy hit, according to the NY Post.

Alyssa Elsman died Thursday when a man drove his vehicle down the sidewalk for three blocks into the heart of New York City's theater district.

Police say Rojas, 26, from the Bronx, drove his auto for three blocks into the Manhattan square at midday Thursday, hitting almost two dozen people before steel security barriers finally stopped him.

"People were being hit and rolling off the auto", Josh Duboff, an employee at the Thomson Reuters headquarters who said he ran from the car's path, told Reuters.

The deadly rampage on Thursday started after the driver allegedly made a U-turn, then steered the vehicle into the packed sidewalk where it rammed dozens of pedestrians for a three block stretch.

Two law enforcement officials say Rojas told officers he was hearing voices. They spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly.

"It sounded like a bomb going off", said Dave Willis, a tourist from the United Kingdom.

A few hours after the Times Square incident, about 20 police officers and detectives occupied the sidewalk outside the six-story red brick building where Rojas lives. Harrison Ramos said Rojas wasn't the same when he came back from active duty in 2014.

A week ago, Rojas was arrested and charged with pointing a knife at a notary, whom he accused of stealing his identity.

In previous arrests, he told authorities he believed he was being harassed and followed, one of the law enforcement officials said.

One person was killed and at least a dozen injured when a auto struck pedestrians in New York's Times Square on Thursday (May 18) at about 1600 GMT, according to the Fire Department.

They are expected to survive, officials said.

Before striking pedestrians, the 2009 Honda Accord was "out of control", an emergency management official said.

Rojas was in custody and unable to comment.

A witness told ABC station WABC-TV that the driver got out of the vehicle after the crash and ran across the street.

Police say the Bronx man was being tested for alcohol and drugs.

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