So devastating! Family members of 18-year-old Alyssa Elsman are recalling what a lovely young woman she was after her life was tragically cut short when she was struck and killed in the Times Square car rampage. We’ve got their heartfelt memories, right here.
This is the kind of loss no family should ever experience. Michigan tourist Alyssa Elsman was walking with her mother and 13-year-old sister near Times Square when Richard Rojas, 26, plowed his 2009 Honda into a crowd of pedestrians. The 18-year-old died at the scene, while her sister and 21 others were injured. “We’re shocked,” a relative who asked to remain unidentified told PEOPLE magazine. “I mean, at first we didn’t believe this was all real until I got online and looked [it] up.”
“She was a very loving, loving little girl,” the family member says of Alyssa. “She looked out for her younger siblings [and] would always play with them,” the relative revealed, sharing that they hardly argued. Alyssa also had a 16-year-old brother who wasn’t with his mother and sisters at the time of the tragedy. Her father is on his way to New York from Portage, MI to be with the rest of his heartbroken family. “It’s disturbing,” the loved one told the magazine. “I’m still trying to piece it all together.”
Just before Alyssa died, she shared a photo of Times Square on her Instagram story account. The magazine noted that she had been at nearly the same intersection in Apr. of 2016, so family trips to New York must have been a regular thing for the teen. It’s so devastating that a vacation with her loved ones turned into such a terrible tragedy. Police were able to arrest Richard right away and believe he was under the influence of K2, a synthetic marijuana that can make people violent and combative. He told police “You were supposed to shoot me. I wanted to kill them.” If he had a death wish, there’s no reason he had to take an innocent life in the process.
HollywoodLifers, send your thoughts and prayers to Alyssa’s family.