Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday afternoon that a fatal incident in Times Square, in which a car killed at least one person and injured nearly two dozen others, did not appear to be related to terrorism.
“Based on the information that we have at this moment, there is no indication that this was an act of terrorism,” de Blasio said at a press conference near the scene of the accident.
Richard Rojas, a 26-year old Bronx man with a history of DWI arrests, was taken into custody, police commissioner James O’Neill told reporters. The deceased was an 18-year-old woman who was visiting the city, and her sister, 13, was also injured.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrote on Twitter that President Donald Trump “has been made aware of the situation in Times Square and will continue to receive updates.”
The incident occurred just before noon in one of the city’s most heavily trafficked areas, raising concerns that the incident might be an act of terror. In 2010, a car bomb was disarmed before it could detonate in Times Square.
A police spokesman said detectives were investigating Rojas’ home for any connection to terrorism, but that none has been found so far. Rojas was arrested in 2008 and 2015 for driving while intoxicated, and earlier this year for menacing.
Rojas drove more than two blocks on the sidewalk in the crowded tourist area. One witness who did not give his name said when the car passed him at 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue the vehicle was already on the sidewalk.
De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo each rushed to the scene shortly after news of the accident broke. Cuomo did not join de Blasio at the press conference but was briefed by O’Neill.