Both the incident and the explosion that occurred on New Year's Day in Rochester, New York, look to have been purposeful, according to the police, and the motorist who was suspected of being responsible for the crash has now away.
The FBI and police said a Ford Expedition SUV driver crashed into a Mitsubishi Outlander at 1 a.m. on Monday, hitting people and two other vehicles before bursting in flames that took almost an hour to extinguish. At least 12 gasoline cans were in one vehicle.
Rochester Police Capt. Ryan Tauriello said two Outlander adults died on the scene and a third was injured. Several pedestrians were hurt.
Police identified the victims as Justina Hughes, 28, of Geneva, Ontario County and Joshua Orr, 29, of Webster. Orr's family said they died at a Grateful Dead tribute band concert at The Kodak Center.
Rochester Police Chief David Smith stated at a press conference Tuesday morning that 35-year-old Syracuse driver Michael Avery, who authorities think caused the crash, died at the hospital that night. Rochester Police Chief David Smith said Tuesday that Avery appeared to purposely hit a throng of pedestrians outside the theater. FBI Rochester field office leader Jeremy Bell stated the collision was not tied to any domestic or international terrorist plot. The FBI helps police investigate.
On Tuesday, Rochester police expressed "profound sympathy to the family and friends of these two young people whose sudden and untimely passing has left a deep and thoughtful effect on all of us."
The crash occurred on West Ridge Road near the Kodak Center after a Moe concert, according to investigators. A westbound Ford Expedition hit a Mitsubishi Outlander leaving the cinema parking lot.
Smith said the incident made the automobiles "go through a group of pedestrians at the crosswalk" in front of the theater. Smith reported Tuesday that nine pedestrians were struck, up from earlier accounts due to more victims coming forward. One person was critically injured; the others were not.