Police in Rochester, New York say there is no evidence of terrorism in the New Year’s Day crash that killed two people and injured several more after a concert in Rochester, New York. The suspect, 25-year-old Michael Avery of the Syracuse area, died Monday night from injuries sustained in the crash, officials said. Avery’s SUV was stashed with gas canisters when he sped toward the pedestrians, and collided with another car.
The crash happened shortly before 1 a.m. as police officers were directing traffic after a concert by the band “moe” at the Kodak Center theater complex. At 12:52 a.m., Avery drove his Ford Expedition on West Ridge Road toward where police officers were stopping traffic to allow pedestrians to cross, however “at this time, Avery sped up, crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and appears to have intentionally been driving towards the pedestrian crossing.” Avery crashed into the Outlander, sending both vehicles “through a group of pedestrians that were in the crosswalk.” The two passengers in the Outlander were killed and the driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. The collision also caused an explosion and a large blaze that took the fire department more than an hour to extinguish.
In an update on Tuesday, Rochester Police Chief David M. Smith said that they have spoken with Avery’s family and they believed he “may have been suffering from possible undiagnosed mental health issues,” but said that “we have not recovered any information that his actions were motivated by any form of political or social biases,” adding that they believe that Avery acted alone. Avery’s motive is not clear and police urge the public to come forward with information. The FBI Buffalo Field Office confirmed they are assisting the Rochester Police Department in the investigation.
Police say that Avery had traveled to Rochester in his personal vehicle on or about Dec. 27 and checked into the WoodSpring Suites in Greece, a suburb of Rochester. Two days later, he rented a Ford Expedition from a car rental agency at the Rochester airport and left his personal car in the airport parking garage. Between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Dec. 30, he made “at least half a dozen purchases of gasoline and gas containers at different locations” throughout Monroe and Ontario counties.
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