Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Elsman had just arrived in the Big Apple and was eagerly touring with her 13-year old sister. Almost immediately after she uploaded a snapchat video of Times Square, a drug-addled Richard Rojas, 26 years of age, mowed them down with his car, killing Alyssa and seriously injuring her sister who will need surgery.
The killer injured 22 people, some very seriously.
Rojas kept driving with people on the hood of his car until he crashed into a pole. He later told police he wanted to kill pedestrians and be shot by police.
Alyssa’s father Thomas Elsman drove all night with his son from their home in Portage, Michigan. In his distraught state, he drove to the police precinct where Rojas is jailed and threatened to kill him, the New York Post reported.
Mr. Elsman was taken to a hospital to be calmed.
He later spoke with Fox 5 News, pouring out his heart.
“Numb. There’s no words. I want to scream,” Thomas Elsman said in an exclusive interview with Fox 5 News on Friday. “My first born daughter is gone. My heart died in New York yesterday.”
His younger daughter is suffering from a fractured pelvis, broken leg and collapsed lung.
“If it was an accident I would forgive,” Mr. Elsman said. “The fact that I found out he was on drugs, and then also today in court said, ‘I wanted to kill everyone,’ and he wanted to go suicide-by-cop, that’s intent. He knew what he was doing, and I don’t care what happens to him.”
Elsman said he could watch Rojas walk right into traffic, get hit and wouldn’t shed a tear.
He said his daughter Alyssa was an “angel” who “never hurt anybody.”
Rojas faces charges of second-degree murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and one count of aggravated vehicular homicide.
There is no death penalty in New York and Rojas will be free to live out his life in a cell and commit more crimes among the prison population. He’ll likely be able to get drugs there as well. Criminals don’t stop committing crimes in prison, they tend to get worse. Alyssa’s dreams are dead, her family will always be devastated. The other victims will forever be changed.
This father’s pain is palpable and brings his tragedy home to anyone reading his comments.
RIP: Alyssa Elsman, 18, was killed in Times Square today. She was visiting NYC from Michigan, our hearts go out to her family. pic.twitter.com/zTlVnpALdX
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) May 18, 2017