Three Dead, Many Injured In Fiery Crash In Rochester

Three people are dead and others injured after a mentally unstable man crashed his rented vehicle, packed with explosives, into a crowd of concertgoers in Rochester, New York, during the early hours of New Year’s Day.

The fiery crash occurred around 12:50 a.m. while a concert with at least 1,000 attendees exited the Kodak Center.

Rochester Police Department (RPD) officers were assisting pedestrians crossing the street when Michael Avery, 35, of Syracuse, accelerated his rented Ford Expedition toward the crowd and crashed into an Uber pulling out of a nearby parking lot, according to law enforcement sources.

RPD and Mayor Malik Evans held a press conference Tuesday to give a briefing on the crash.

“The force of the collision caused the two vehicles to go through a group of pedestrians that were in the crosswalk and then into two other vehicles,” RPD Chief David Smith said.

Three pedestrians were hit and taken to Strong Memorial Hospital, with one person being treated for life-threatening injuries.

Avery was also transported to Strong Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he later died around 8 p.m. Monday.

First responders found at least a dozen gasoline canisters in and around the Ford Expedition, prompting the Rochester Police Department Bomb Squad and Joint Arson Task Force to join the scene, according to officials.

The crash was first treated as a possible terrorist attack, but law enforcement has ruled that out.

The first pictures of Avery were shared on social media, showing him at one of the gas stations he visited, where he could be seen purchasing gasoline.

Law enforcement searched the Wood Spring Suites in Greece, where Avery was staying, where they found a suicide note and journal. The contents have not been made public yet.

Investigators also interviewed members of Avery’s family who suspected that he suffered from bipolar disorder, but was never officially diagnosed. They reported that he never shared any negative thoughts and that they were unaware of any reason why he would want to harm anyone.

The investigation is still ongoing.