Thomas Elsman, the father of Alyssa Elsman, the 18-year-old Michigan resident who was killed in this week’s tragic and allegedly deliberate automobile attack in Times Square, arrived in New York City to be with family. Elsman, whose other daughter, Ava, was also struck in the attack, spoke with local media.
“My firstborn daughter is gone,” Elsman told WNFW/Fox 5 on Friday. “My heart died in New York yesterday.”
Elsman traveled from Michigan to be with his 13-year-old daughter, Ava, who is hospitalized with a fractured pelvis, collapsed lung, and a broken leg. Alyssa and Ava Elsman were both in New York with a friend and the girls’ mother sightseeing together when Richard Rojas, the driver, mowed down a crowd of people, killing Alyssa and severely injuring 20 people.
Alyssa was known in her hometown of Portage, Mich., as a “delight” and for her baking skills. The girls’ 83-year-old great-grandmother, Clara May Jablonski, told the New York Times that Ava and Alyssa “were always close-knit” and is worried about how the younger girl will react to losing her older sister.
Police say that Rojas has since admitted that he was high on drugs, that he “wanted to kill them all” and also had wanted the police to shoot him. There were reports that Elsman had gone to the police precinct where the perpetrator was being held and threatened to kill Rojas. If true, his comments have seemed to tempered down, despite the anguish that he must feel. “If it was an accident, I would forgive. … He knew what he was doing, and I don’t care what happens to him.”
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