With a disheartened face, the father of the young woman fatally murdered by 26-year-old Richard Rojas in Times Square, said to Fox 5 News: "My heart died yesterday in New York." Rojas, from The Bronx, killed Alyssa Elsman, a tourist from Portage, Michigan, and injured 22 others when he mashed his maroon vehicle into unsuspecting pedestrians and then tried to flee the scene. 

Thomas Elsman said he is speechless. "There’s no words. I mean… I want to scream. I want to not be here. But I have other kids I have to be strong, and that’s why I’m here,” he said to New York native Dari Alexander, anchor of the “FOX 5 News At 5 p.m.” and the “FOX 5 News at 10 p.m.” 

Mr. Elsman Alyssa Elsman's father opened his heart and said how he and his family are doing after the tragedy that took away his daughter. Photo: Facebook / FOX 5

Elsman's 13-year-old daughter, Ava Elsman, was also among the people who were struck but survived. “She went through surgery, she’s recovering. Her pelvis was fractured, her leg was broken, her lung collapsed. But they… the doctors have been great here,” said Mr. Elsman. “She’s recovering, and in good spirit… and you know, she knows what happened, we told her about her sister and she is as shocked as we are right now,” he added.

Alyssa's father said New York was Elsman's favorite place. “Times Square is like her favorite place, and she did an Instagram picture like 10 minutes before that guy ran into the crowd,” he said. 

When Alexander asked Mr. Elsman about Rojas he said: “If it was an accident I will forgive. The fact that I find out he was on drugs, and he also today in court he 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,” he added.

Mr. Elsman also wrote a letter to his daughter Alyssa that reads:

“There is no words that can express our gratitude with the outpouring of love and support this city has shown us. Our medical staff, The NYPD and most of all YOU. This impromptu memorial dedicated to our daughter and seeing and talking to many of you has helped me cope with our loss. I have met so many people from different countries, religions, creeds etc..it doesn’t matter..you have shown us that when you remove bias..racism..and ignorance..WE ARE ALL ONE…

Your condolences have been sincere and taken to heart. Please also remember there are 20 other families affected by this and please keep them in your thoughts too. Alyssa loved this city…she loved Times Square. She would appreciate all your kind words but she would also tell us all to get back up and continue. That’s how full of life my daughter was This city and our hearts are scarred, cut to the core, but in true New York City fashion..We will heal..We will prevail..and we will never forget.

Alyssa Lynn Elsman, my beautiful 18 year old girl. I look at myself and will never understand how I could ever have made such an angel…Im glad you got your mothers looks.. I don’t know anything currently..I always have the answers..but I am blank…I have a hole in my heart that can never be filled. My world changed when you came into it and it is unexplainable with you leaving it. I love you kid. Just no words.


Now on suicide watch, Rojas faces a second-degree murder charge for killing Elsman, and 20 counts of attempted murder for his other victims, including four who were critically hurt.