Richard Rojas, 26, appeared subdued during a brief court appearance where prosecutors detailed a felony second-degree murder charge. He's also facing 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder.
He didn't enter a plea. Rojas's lawyer and weeping supporters had no comment. He's due back in court next week.
Rojas told police after he was tackled following the mayhem in Times Square that police should have shot him to stop him and that he wanted to "kill them all," prosecutors said. He told police that he had smoked marijuana laced with PCP, according to a criminal complaint.
Rojas drove his car from the Bronx to Times Square on Thursday, where he sped into the bustling Crossroads of the World, hitting nearly two dozen people on the sidewalk before steel security barriers finally stopped him, authorities said.
After the wreck Thursday, Rojas emerged from his vehicle running, yelling and jumping before being subdued by police and bystanders in a chaotic scene. "He began screaming, no particular words but just utter screaming. He was swinging his arms at the same time, said Ken Bradix, a security supervisor at a nearby Planet Hollywood restaurant who tackled Rojas.
PHOTOS: Car plows into crowd in Times Square
Eighteen-year-old tourist Alyssa Elsman, of Portage, Michigan, was killed in the crash. Her 13-year-old sister was among the 20 injured, four of them critically.
The most seriously injured was a 38-year-old woman from Canada, who remains in critical condition. She and the others are expected to survive.
Rojas enlisted in the Navy in 2011 and was an electrician's mate fireman apprentice. In 2012, he served aboard the USS Carney, a destroyer.
Navy records show that in 2013 he spent two months at a naval prison in Charleston, South Carolina. They don't indicate why.
Rojas spent his final months in the Navy at the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida, before being discharged in 2014 as the result of a special court martial, a Navy official said.
Security has since been stepped up at Times Square, and the city has brought in new concrete barriers to help protect pedestrians.