Thomas Elsman drove to New York City with his son from their home in Michigan on Thursday night after learning that his 18-year-old daughter Alyssa had been killed by the drug-crazed driver who tried to kill pedestrians with his car in Times Square that afternoon.
Grief-stricken, Elsman said Friday, “My heart died in New York yesterday. There’s no words. I want to scream. My first-born daughter is gone.’’
Alyssa, her 13-year-old sister, Ava, and their mom were visiting New York when Richard Rojas, 26, went on a murderous rampage by driving his car top speed down the city’s sidewalk for three blocks, mowing down pedestrians, before the car crashed.
After arriving in New York, Elsman visited the Midtown South station house where Rojas was being held and threatened to kill him. Police said that Elsman had to be taken to Bellevue Hospital to be calmed down.
In addition to a broken leg, his daughter Ava’s pelvis was fractured and one of her lungs collapsed as a result of being hit by the car. Even worse, she had to be told that her sister had died.
When he heard the details of how Rojas had smoked PCP-laced marijuana at the time of the incident, Elsman was outraged. “If it was an accident, I would forgive,” said the distraught father. “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.”
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