UPDATE #2 Times Square Driver Told NYPD He Wanted to “Kill Them All.”
UPDATE: Times Square driver has been identified as Richard Rojas. New York City officials say Rojas drove on sidewalk for “3 whole blocks,” striking people. Rojas has a criminal background including two DUI’s and menacing.
May 18, 2017 A vehicle plowed onto a busy sidewalk in Manhattan’s Times Square on Thursday killing at least one person and injuring at least 19 others. Buildings near the popular tourist attraction remain on lockdown.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio are on the scene of the incident. New York City officials say initial reports indicate the crash was an accident and not terrorism related.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with New York City Police Department in the investigation into what caused the deadly crash. Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI is the designated lead agency in incidents where terrorism is suspected — until it can be ruled out.
Both ISIS and al-Qaeda have used vehicles as weapons in dozens of terrorist attacks in recent years. In March, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in which a car plowed into a group of people on the Westminster Bridge in London that killed a woman and injured several others. In July, 2016, a truck plowed into a large crowd of people in Nice, France, killing at least 75 people and wounding dozens more during at an annual Bastille Day fireworks celebration.
In the last year, the Islamic State or ISIS has released several videos threatening to attack American cities in retaliation for the U.S. intervention in Syria.
In November, ISIS specifically called on followers to weaponize vehicles and kill “infidels” gathered in outdoor spaces throughout the West.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."