The father of Alyssa Elsman, the 18-year-old woman killed by an driver who apparently deliberately drove onto crowded Times Square sidewalks on Thursday, spoke out yesterday. Thomas Elsman said, "My ex-wife watched her die. Her sister is aware of what happened, she watched the whole thing."
He also said that he was "numb. There's no words. I want to scream... My first born daughter is gone. My heart died in New York yesterday."
Alyssa Elsman, her mother and her 13-year-old sister Ava were visiting New York City from Michigan; it was apparently their third annual trip. On Thursday, they were in Times Square when, around noon, police say Richard Rojas made a U-turn at 7th Avenue and 42nd Street, mounted the sidewalk at the corner and continued on, hitting nearly two dozens pedestrians until he was stopped by a bollard.
"He exited his vehicle and proclaimed he wanted to kill them all and that police should've shot him to stop him," said a prosecutor during the arraignment. The Manhattan D.A.'s office also said that Rojas claimed he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP.
Rojas, 26, was charged with murder, 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. He was held without bail.
Alyssa Elsman died at the scene while her sister suffered collapsed lung, broken pelvis and broken leg, in addition to broken teeth. Thomas Elsman drove to New York from Michigan and reportedly went to the Midtown South Precinct on Friday morning and threatened to kill Rojas. According to the Post, the grieving father was taken to Bellevue Hospital to calm down.
Elsman told Fox 5, "If it was an accident I would forgive. 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."