Suspect says ‘I’m sorry’ after being charged with two counts of criminal homicide
Two people have died and 17 are injured after a man allegedly drove his car into a crowd and later killed his mother in a neighbouring town in Pennsylvania.
A fundraiser being held for victims of a fire that killed 10 in Nescopeck last week was thrown into chaos on Saturday in Berwick when a driver plowed into the crowd, killing one person and wounding 17 others.
Shortly after, police in neighbouring Luzerne County received a call about a man assaulting a woman. When they arrived, they found the woman dead and the man – identified as Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes – was taken into custody.
Police believe Mr Reyes was responsible for the Berwick crash as well as the death of the woman in Luzerne County, who was reported to be his mother.
Here’s what we know so far:
Suspect arrested following mass casualty incident and homicide
State troopers arrested suspect Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes of Nescopeck in the mass casualty crash in Columbia County’s Berwick on Saturday evening, WBRE/WYOU reported.
Police believe that the same 24-year-old man is behind the Luzerne County assault that led to the death of a woman shortly after the crash. Local outlet Press Enterprise reported that the woman was the suspect’s mother. He reportedly argued with her before fatally beating her.
State Trooper Anthony Petroski told the press that several people who had joined a fundraiser for the families of the ten people who died in a Nescopeck blaze were hit by a car.
“The person who did these heinous crimes tonight is in custody right now,” he told reporters outside the state police station in Shikshinny.
The Columbia County Coroner, Jeremy Reese, told Eyewitness News that one person, a 50-year-old woman, was dead at the crash scene. Her identity is being withheld pending family notifications.
Out of the 17 people injured in the crash in Berwick, 12 were taken to the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, three were taken to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, one was transported to Berwick hospital, and one was taken to the Geisinger center in Bloomsburg, according to the Times Leader.
In Danville on Saturday night, four people were in critical condition, three were in fair condition, and five were still undergoing evaluation, the paper reported. One of those taken to Wyoming Valley has been treated and released from care.
Mr Petroski said the crime scenes are both “very active”. He said there are “a lot of moving parts with both investigations,” according to the paper.
Second woman found dead at separate scene
Not long after the crash, which took place after 6pm on Saturday, Pennsylvania State Police got a call concerning a man who was assaulting a woman. When they got to that scene, they found a dead woman and Mr Reyes, who had been detained by municipal police, WBRE/WYOU reported.
He faces two counts of criminal homicide, according to authorities. He’s currently being held at the Columbia County Correctional Facility and bail has been denied.
Mr Petroski didn’t confirm if the crash into the crowd was intentional. The investigations into both incidents are ongoing.
‘Sorry, I’m sorry’
Reporters first interacted with Mr Reyes at 3am on Sunday as he was placed in a police vehicle outside the state police station in Shikshinny.
When asked for comment, he said, “sorry, I’m sorry,” according to WBRE/WYOU.
“Among a sea of people and commotion, there is a heavy law enforcement presence, including state police forensics and reconstruction units, and a heavy first responder presence, too,” Eyewitness News reporter Madonna Mantione said from the scene of the crash on Saturday evening, according to WBRE/WYOU.
Pastor Brad Iverson of Berwick Bible Church told Eyewitness News that “I was home barbecuing and began receiving messages from folks at my church that this was taking place so I thought they might need some spiritual support considering what’s happened here”.
“They need help and so I just thought I’d come down to see if there was something I could do,” he added.
Bar shuts down ‘until further notice’
The surrounding area near Center Street in Berwick was shut down following the crash. The bar where the incident occurred, The Intoxicology Department, has said that it will be shut down until further notice.
Mr Petroski said that Mr Reyes was not a suspect “at this time” in the 5 August house fire in Nescopeck that killed ten people, according to the Times Leader.
The Intoxicology Department said on Facebook that the crash “was an absolute tragedy. We will be closed until further notice. Please respect our privacy while we grieve and try to process the events that occurred. Thank you”.
‘Praying for the people of Berwick’
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, a Democrat running for Governor, tweeted on Sunday morning: “Praying for the people of Berwick as they are put through another tragedy, and grateful to law enforcement and first responders who acted quickly to save lives. I’m devastated for the victims and their families, and I know this community will be there for each other again.”
Retiring Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey added: “This is heartbreaking. These families were already mourning the loss of loved ones, and now they’re again facing tremendous loss. My thoughts are with the families affected and the Berwick community. I’m grateful first responders quickly helped those injured.”