What to Know
- Pennsylvania state police said a man drove into a crowd at a fundraiser for victims of a recent deadly house fire. One person was killed and 17 others were injured Saturday. He then returned home and beat his mother to death.
- Police said 24-year-old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes was arraigned early Sunday on two counts of criminal homicide.
- They alleged that he told them he was upset about an argument with his mother, saw the crowd in Berwick and drove through it.
Pennsylvania state police say a man who was upset about an argument with his mother drove through a crowd at a fundraiser for victims of a recent deadly house fire, killing one person at the event and injuring 17 others, then returned home and beat his mother to death.
The suspect, identified as Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Doug Brewer Sunday morning on two open counts of criminal homicide, Pennsylvania State Police said in a news release. Sura Reyes, of Nescopeck, was denied bail and remanded to the Columbia County Correctional Facility.
Police have not released the identities of the two people killed or any of the 17 injured, who were taken to several area hospitals.
Police allege in a criminal complaint that Sura Reyes said he argued with his mother at their Nescopeck home Saturday evening and while driving through nearby Berwick was “extremely frustrated” and was “tired of fighting with his mother, including about money, and wanted to be done with it.”
At the time, police said, a crowd of about 75 people, including adults and small children, had gathered in a blocked-off parking lot in Berwick outside the Intoxicology Department bar, which was holding an all-day fundraising event to benefit victims of the Aug. 5 blaze in Nescopeck that killed seven adults and three children.
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Police say Sura Reyes told them he drove past the gathering, then turned around and headed back to the bar “to drive through the crowd of people." Investigators asked how fast he drove into the crowd and Sura Reyes replied “speeding up.”
“Video surveillance gathered by the Pennsylvania State Police corroborates Sura Reyes's statement that he sped up into the crowd purposefully,” according to the criminal complaint.
Twelve of those injured were transported to Geisinger Medical Center; three others were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, another to Berwick Hospital Center and yet another to Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital, authorities said.
Geisinger Medical Center said five people remained in critical condition while three were listed in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said Sunday morning. Seven patients had been treated at hospitals and released.
According to NBC's affiliate WBRE-TV, the crash happened around 6:30 p.m., outside the Intoxicology Department restaurant and left multiple people injured when the driver crashed into a crowd along West 2nd Street.
In a Facebook post, Intoxicology Department, the restaurant where the fundraiser was held, said they will close their doors until further notice.
"Today 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," the restaurant wrote.
Police said the car crashed into the crowd as they were attending an event benefiting the victims of a Nescopeck house fire that killed seven adults and three children last week.
Among the dead in the house fire were seven adults and three children ages 5, 6 and 7.
Trooper Anthony Petroski III told reporters late Saturday that Sura Reyes was not currently a suspect in the fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.
“This is a complete tragedy in a community where there’s already been tragedy,” Petroski said.
Shortly after the crash was reported, troopers were called about a man “physically assaulting" a woman less than two miles away in Nescopeck. Troopers arrived to find local police had arrested Sura Reyes and a woman was dead.
Luzerne County Coroner Francis Hacken confirmed Sunday that the victim, Rosa D. Reyes, 56, of Nescopeck, was the mother of Sura Reyes and had died of multiple traumatic injuries after being hit by a vehicle and assaulted with a hammer.
In the criminal complaint, police say Sura Reyes told investigators he saw his mother in the street upon returning home and struck her with his vehicle, then hit her with a hammer several times.