BERWICK, Pa. –
Pennsylvania State Police say a man who was upset over 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 injured 17 others, then returned home and beat his mother to death.
Police identified the driver as Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, 24, of Nescopeck, who was booked early Sunday on two counts of criminal homicide.
Police allege in a criminal complaint that Sura Reyes said he got into an argument with his mother at their Nescopeck home on Saturday night and while driving through nearby Berwick he was “extremely frustrated” and was “tired of fighting with his mother, even for money, and I wanted to be done with it.”
At the time, police said, a crowd of about 75 people, including adults and young children, had gathered in a locked parking lot in Berwick outside the Poison Control Department bar, which was holding a fundraising event throughout the day. day to benefit victims of the August 5 Nescopeck fire that killed seven adults and three children.
Police say Sura Reyes told them she walked past the gathering, then turned around and headed back to the bar “to drive through the crowd.” Investigators asked him how fast he drove into the crowd, and Sura Reyes replied “accelerating.”
“Surveillance video collected by the Pennsylvania State Police corroborates Sura Reyes’ statement that she sped through the crowd on purpose,” according to the criminal complaint.
Geisinger Medical Center said it received 15 patients after the accident, with five remaining in critical condition while three were in fair condition, a hospital spokesman said Sunday morning. Seven patients had been treated in hospitals and discharged.
Private Anthony Petroski III told reporters Saturday night that Sura Reyes was not currently a suspect in the fire, the cause of which remains under investigation.
“This is a total tragedy in a community where there has already been a tragedy,” Petroski said.
Shortly after the accident was reported, police were called about a man who “physically assaulted” a woman less than two miles away in Nescopeck. The police 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, of Nescopeck, was the mother of Sura Reyes and had died of multiple traumatic injuries after being struck by a vehicle and attacked with a hammer.
In the criminal complaint, police say Sura Reyes told investigators she saw her mother in the street on her way home and hit her with her vehicle and then hit her with a hammer multiple times.
Sura Reyes was denied bail and remained in the Columbia County jail awaiting a preliminary hearing on August 29. The media reported that he said “I’m sorry” in response to reporters’ questions as he was led out of the Shickshinny police station. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.
The first funerals for the fire victims were held on Friday and more are scheduled for Sunday and Monday.
The bar called the events an “absolute tragedy” and said on its Facebook page that they will remain closed until further notice and would like privacy “while we grieve and try to process the events that have occurred.”