State police in Pennsylvania say a man distraught about a dispute with his mother drove through a gathering at a benefit for victims of a recent fatal house fire, killing one and wounding 17 others, before returning home and killing his mother.
Police identified the driver as 24-year-old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes of Nescopeck, who was arraigned on two counts of a criminal homicide early Sunday.
Police allege in a criminal complaint that Sura Reyes told them he clashed with his mother at their Nescopeck home on Saturday evening and was "extremely frustrated" and "tired of fighting with his mother, including about money, and wanted to be done with it." while driving through nearby Berwick.
A crowd of approximately 75 people, including adults and small children, had gathered in a blocked-off parking lot in Berwick outside the Intoxicology Department bar, which was hosting an all-day fundraiser for victims of the August 5 blaze in Nescopeck that claimed the lives of seven adults and three children, according to police.
Sura Reyes allegedly told the police that he drove passed the gathering, turned around, and returned to the pub "to drive through the crowd of people." When asked how quickly he drove into the crowd, Sura Reyes responded, "speeding up."
According to the criminal complaint, "Video surveillance gathered by the Pennsylvania State Police corroborates Sura Reyes's statement that he sped up into the crowd purposefully,"
A hospital representative reported that Geisinger Medical Center had received 15 patients following the accident on Sunday morning. Five remained in critical condition, and three were described as being in fair condition. Seven individuals were treated and released from hospitals.
Trooper Anthony Petroski III informed reporters late Saturday night that Sura Reyes was not a suspect in the ongoing inquiry into the fire's cause.
Petroski stated, "This is a complete tragedy in a community where there's already been tragedy,"
Shortly after the incident was reported, officers received a call in Nescopeck saying a man was "physically assaulting" a woman. When troopers arrived, Sura Reyes was apprehended by local police, and a woman was found dead.
Sunday, Luzerne County Coroner Francis Hacken confirmed that the victim, 56-year-old Rosa D. Reyes of Nescopeck, was Sura Reyes' mother and had died of multiple traumatic injuries after being struck by a vehicle and beaten with a hammer.
In the criminal complaint, police state that Sura Reyes informed detectives that, upon arriving home, he discovered his mother in the street and struck her with his vehicle before repeatedly hitting her with a hammer.
Sura Reyes was denied bail and stayed in the Columbia County jail until her preliminary hearing on August 29. As he was being brought away from the Shickshinny police station, he reportedly replied "Sorry" in response to reporters' questioning. It was initially unclear whether he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
The first funerals for fire victims were held on Friday, with more slated for Sunday and Monday.
The bar labeled the events an "absolute tragedy" and announced on its Facebook page that it would be closed until further notice "while we grieve add try to process the events that occurred."