The Rochester, New York, accident near the Kodak Center is being investigated as domestic terrorism


Members of the Rochester Fire Department work at the scene of an accident in Rochester, New York, on Monday. Courtesy of Lorne Mauldin

Rochester Police Chief David Smith detailed suspect Michael Avery’s actions in the days leading up to the fatal car crash that authorities continue to investigate.

The 35-year-old man traveled to the Rochester, New York, area in his personal vehicle around Dec. 27 and checked into a hotel, Smith said.

On Friday afternoon, Avery rented a Ford Expedition from a car rental agency at the Rochester airport, the police chief said.

On Saturday, Avery made multiple purchases of gasoline and gas containers at various locations throughout the day, Smith said. It seems Avery did the shopping alone, he added.

Around 12:52 a.m. ET on Monday, New Year’s Day, Avery was driving the rented Ford Expedition near a concert venue site. Two Rochester police officers were working traffic after the concert ended, police said.

“At that time, Avery accelerated, crossed into the lane of on-going traffic and appears to have been intentionally driving into the crosswalk,” Smith said Tuesday. Around the same time, a rideshare vehicle with two passengers in the back seat leaving the parking lot was struck by Avery’s vehicle.

The two rear passengers of the rideshare were killed and nine pedestrians were injured, the police chief said.

Authorities said the suspect in the crash died and there was no indication of “political or social bias.” Police continue to investigate the incident and a possible motive behind the crime.

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