Driver behind Times Square mayhem: 'I wanted to kill them'

The driver behind the mayhem in New York City's Times Square that killed one and injured 22 others allegedly stated, "I wanted to kill them" and admitted to smoking PCP-laced marijuana before Thursday's violence.

Richard Rojas, 26, told a witness that he had wanted to kill the pedestrians of Times Square whom he hit with his 2009 Honda Accord, according to court documents. He also allegedly added that he smoked PCP-laced marijuana before the onslaught.

"I smoked marijuana," he told police, according to court documents. "I laced the marijuana with PCP."

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Car strikes pedestrians in Times Square
NEW YORK, USA - MAY 18: Flames and smoke rises from a wrecked vehicle after it plowed into pedestrians on a busy sidewalk on the corner of West 45th St. and Broadway at Times Square, New York, NY United States on May 18, 2017. Multiple pedestrians were struck Thursday by a speeding vehicle in the heart of New York City, according to reports. At least 13 people wounded. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Richard Rojas is escorted from the 7th precinct by New York City Police officers after being processed in connection with the speeding vehicle that struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
An injured woman lays on the sidewalk in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestirans on the sidewalk inn New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A photo of victim Alyssa Elsman of Portage, Michigan is posted on a baricade in Times Square May 19, 2017, the morning after Richard Rojas crashed his car into a a crowd of pedestrians in New York's Times Square killing one and injuring 22 people. A US Navy veteran who plowed a car into pedestrians in New York's Times Square, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people, has been charged with murder and attempted murder, police said Friday. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
First responders are at the scene as people help injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jeremy Schultz
First responders and people help injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jeremy Schultz
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY An injured man is seen on the sidewalk in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians on the sidewalk in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
First responders are assisting injured pedestrians after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Jeremy Schultz
An injured woman is seen on the sidewalk in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians on the sidewalk inn New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF INJURY An injured man is seen on the sidewalk in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians on the sidewalk in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
First responders tend to an injured pedestrian after a vehicle struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
A woman attends to an injured man on the sidewalk in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians on the sidewalk in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH OR INJURY A body of a deceased person lies covered on the sidewalk in front of the 3 Times Sq building in Times Square after a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians on the sidewalk in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TEMPLATE OUT
Police investigate the vehicle that drove onto sidewalk and struck pedestrians in Times Square in New York, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 18: A wrecked car sits in the intersection of 45th and Broadway in Times Square, May 18, 2017 in New York City. According to reports there were multiple injuries and one fatality after the car plowed into a crowd of people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, USA - MAY 18: A wounded civilian is being hospitalized after a maroon sedan vehicle plowed into pedestrians on a busy sidewalk on the corner of West 45th St. and Broadway at Times Square, New York, NY United States on May 18, 2017. Multiple pedestrians were struck Thursday by a speeding vehicle in the heart of New York City, according to reports. At least 13 people wounded. (Photo by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers stand near newly erected concrete barricades outside the 3 Times Square building in Times Square where a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians Thursday in New York City, U.S., May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
A vehicle that struck pedestrians and later crashed is seen on the sidewalk in Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
People walk between newly erected concrete barricades outside the 3 Times Square building in Times Square where a speeding vehicle struck pedestrians Thursday in New York City, U.S., May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Emergency personnel inspect a vehicle involved in striking a number of pedestrians in Times Square in New York, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Richard Rojas is escorted from the 7th precinct by New York City Police officers after being processed in connection with the speeding vehicle that struck pedestrians on a sidewalk in Times Square in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
A photo of victim Alyssa Elsman of Portage, Michigan is posted on a baricade in Times Square May 19, 2017, the morning after Richard Rojas crashed his car into a a crowd of pedestrians in New York's Times Square killing one and injuring 22 people. A US Navy veteran who plowed a car into pedestrians in New York's Times Square, killing a woman and injuring 22 other people, has been charged with murder and attempted murder, police said Friday. / AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Bronx native is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, 20 counts of attempted murder and second-degree murder.

"It appears to be intentional in the sense that he was troubled and lashing out," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on WNYC radio on Friday.

Police and the Department of Homeland Security initially suggested it was an accident.

The mayor added that this was not an act of terror.

"At the root of this from what we know so far is an untreated mental health issue likely going back decades," he added.

Drug and alcohol abuse are also at the center of the investigation. Rojas, who served in the Navy, has a history of driving while intoxicated arrests. Police said he was arrested for DWI twice and a DUI charge led to a dishonorable discharge from the Navy in 2014.

Court documents state that Rojas appeared glassy eyed and had slurred speech after the incident. He stated that "I smoked" before the rampage.

"There were some kind of drugs in his system," de Blasio said.

A total of 19 people were hospitalized after the attack and five are in critical condition. The woman killed was identified as 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman of Portage, Michigan. Her 13-year-old sister was one of the people injured and taken to the hospital, police said.

Rojas jumped the curb at 7th Avenue and W. 42nd Street, according to police. He drove three blocks to W. 45th Street where he struck a metal stanchion.

"All of a sudden I heard this boom and a car is barreling down Seventh Avenue hitting people, just, 'Boom! Boom!' And everyone just starts running," witness Kristen Boyce told NBC New York on Thursday. "We start running, we don't know if another one is going to come, we don't know what's happening, everyone is panicking."

The mayor told WNYC that the incident did not make city officials consider reconfiguring Times Square further to protect pedestrians. He noted that they had changed how they handled public gatherings because of terrorist-related "ramming attacks" in Europe.

A federal report found that 173 people have been killed and more than 700 wounded in 17 ramming attacks across the globe.

"We're going to make decisions case-by-case, but we take this very seriously," the mayor said.

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