Over the weekend, the father of the 18-year-old girl who was killed in Times Square when an intoxicated man plowed his car through a pedestrian-filled sidewalk at the famous tourist spot left a touching note in memory of his daughter at the place where she died.
“Alyssa loved this city … she loved Times Square,” Michigan resident Thomas Elsman wrote of his daughter. “She would appreciate all your kind words, but she would also tell us all to get back up and continue.”
Over the weekend, Elsman placed his letter near the place where his daughter was fatally injured. He had driven to New York City from his family’s home in Portage, Michigan, to visit his 13-year-old daughter — who was injured in the same crash that killed Alyssa and injured more than 20 others — and Elsman also took the time to place a personal letter at the makeshift memorial in Times Square.
On May 18, military veteran Richard Rojas intentionally drove his vehicle into a crowd in Times Square. At the time, Rojas had consumed K2, a variety of synthetic marijuana, which was reportedly laced with PCP, and he also said he intended to commit “suicide by cop” when he caused the fatal crash.
When he came to the city, Elsman initially traveled to the police district in Midtown South, shouting that he wanted to kill Rojas. At the time, Elsman was taken to Bellevue Hospital in order to give him time to deal with his grief.
But, in a note that Elsman left at the makeshift memorial to his daughter, the distraught father expressed his grief over his loss, while thanking the people of New York City for their love and support during this difficult time.
“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,” reads the note left by Elsman. “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.”
Rojas, a resident of the Bronx, has threatened to kill police in the past and is currently in police custody. He isn’t mentioned in Elsman’s letter.
“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 <3 Love you love you love you,” ends the letter that Elsman signed “Dad.”