One person is dead and at least 13 others have been injured after a vehicle crashed into a crowd of people in New York City's Times Square.
His lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment.
Before plowing into steel security barriers and coming to a stop, the auto struck almost two dozen people in crowded Times Square, a daily magnet for thousands of tourists. The auto appeared to catch fire, as smoke was seen coming up from it. Police said 23 people were struck, including an 18-year-old tourist from MI who died.
Rojas was charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated vehicular homicide.
Police say the man, Richard Rojas, 26, also told responding officers Thursday after he crashed his Honda Accord into protective barriers that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP - also known as angel dust.
He did not enter a plea and was held without bail until he is due in court again next week.
Relatives, friends and community members in Portage, Michigan, mourned the loss of Elsman, the 18-year-old killed in the crash.
A childhood friend of Rojas's says he seemed to become emotionally disturbed after a stint in the Navy from 2011 to 2014.
Rojas served at a Navy base in Florida and aboard a destroyer, USS Carney.
Navy records show that in 2013 he spent two months at a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina.
Rojas, said to have been discharged from the US Navy following disciplinary problems, appeared in court on Friday.
The auto is said to have performed a u-turn and driven at speed against the flow of traffic for three blocks.
City officials do not consider the incident an act of terrorism, de Blasio said.
A single rose is left on the sidewalk to honor a victim of a wrong way driver in New York's Times Square, Friday, May 19, 2017.
The man accused of steering his auto onto a Times Square sidewalk Thursday and mowing down pedestrians told police he was "hearing voices", law enforcement, officials said. They don't indicate why.
Her 13-year-old sister is among those injured - with the New York Police Department confirming she is being treated for a collapsed lung and a broken pelvis.
A Planet Hollywood bouncer and a traffic agent jumped into action Thursday after a vehicle plowed into pedestrians near Times Square, tackling the driver and holding him until police could respond, according to multiple reports.
CBS2 spoke to the son of retired Brooklyn teacher William Nelson Sr., who said he is on a breathing machine after being hit. Rojas was charged at the time with misdemeanor battery and resisting an officer without violence, but it was unclear how the case was resolved. Four of the injured were in a critical condition, officials said.