(RepublicanNews.org) – Authorities investigating the deadly crash that killed three people and injured at least ten others have so far found no evidence of terrorism, although law enforcement has said that this is not yet conclusive, and domestic terrorism continues to be considered as a possible motive for the fatal attack.
The suspect in the attack has been identified as Michael Avery, a 35-year-old from Syracuse, New York, and so far, investigators have not found any link to any particular religious or political ideology that could explain his motivations.
In the early hours of Monday, January 1st, Avery drove a car loaded with gas canisters directly into a Mitsubishi Outlander rideshare car in Rochester, New York, after driving into oncoming traffic and seemingly aiming for a pedestrian crosswalk. The crash killed the two passengers, friends Joshua Orr, 29, and Justina Hughes, 28, as well as Avery, who survived long enough to be hospitalized. The force of the impact pushed the cars into two other vehicles and resulted in the Mitsubishi driver and at least nine pedestrians being injured. One pedestrian’s injuries have been described as “life-threatening”. Avery’s rented car became engulfed in flames which took the Rochester fire brigade over an hour to extinguish.
Around 1,000 people had been attending a New Year’s Eve concert at the nearby Kodak Center and were leaving the venue at 12:50 am, just minutes before Avery crashed his car. Police say that he left no suicide note and no explanation for the violent crash and appeared to have planned for the crash alone. He had been witnessed purchasing at least a dozen gas canisters from various stores, always alone. So far, his motives remain unclear, although the investigation is ongoing.
The family of one of the victims, Justina Hughes, described her as a “beautiful free spirit” with a great passion for hiking and music. The family added that they took comfort in the fact that by Avery crashing into their car, it was likely that many pedestrians’ lives were spared, with the Mitsubishi effectively acting as a shield for the worst of the impact. Orr’s family shared this view, and also spoke of his love for his girlfriend and dog, describing him as a “beautiful, generous human”.
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