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Man drives into crowd at charity event, then kills his mother, Pennsylvania police say

Man and woman embracing to comfort each other
Harold Baker, a volunteer firefighter in Nescopeck, Pa., is comforted at the scene where a car plowed into a crowd at a charity event.
(Bob Kalinowski / Citizens’ Voice)

Pennsylvania state police say a man upset over an argument with his mother drove into a crowd of people 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.

Police identified the driver as 24-year-old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes of Nescopeck, who was arraigned early Sunday on two counts of criminal homicide.

Police say 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.”

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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 an Aug. 5 blaze in Nescopeck that killed seven adults and three children.

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’ statement that he sped up into the crowd purposefully,” according to the criminal complaint.

Police say a man drove his car into a barricade near the U.S. Capitol and then began firing gunshots in the air before fatally shooting himself.

Geisinger Medical Center said it received 15 patients after the crash, and five remained in critical condition while three were in fair condition, a hospital spokesperson said Sunday morning. Seven patients had been treated at hospitals and released.

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 that local police had arrested Sura Reyes and that a woman was dead.

Luzerne County Coroner Francis Hacken confirmed Sunday that the victim, Rosa D. Reyes, 56, 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 hit her with his vehicle, then struck her with a hammer several times.

On Friday, Anne Heche was declared legally dead, but the actor’s body was kept on life support to preserve her organs for donation.

“This is a complete tragedy in a community where there’s already been tragedy,” Trooper Anthony Petroski III told reporters late Saturday.

Petroski said Sura Reyes was not currently a suspect in the Aug. 5 fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.

Sura Reyes was denied bail and remained in Columbia County prison pending an Aug. 29 preliminary hearing. News outlets reported that he said, “Sorry,” in response to reporters’ questions as he was taken from the Shickshinny police station. It wasn’t immediately clear whether he had a lawyer to comment on his behalf.

The first funerals for victims of the fire were held Friday, and more were scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

The bar called the events an “absolute tragedy” and said on its Facebook page that it would be closed until further notice and would like privacy “while we grieve and try to process the events that occurred.”


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