A Pennsylvania man has been taken into custody over his involvement in two deadly incidents Saturday in Berwick and Nescopeck, including one in which he rammed his vehicle into an outdoor fundraiser, injuring 17 and killing one.
— The informant (@theinformantofc) August 14, 2022
The linked events began with the suspect, Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes, driving his car into an outdoors fundraiser in Berwick that was being held by the Intoxicology Department Bar and Restaurant on behalf of 10 locals who’d died in a fire in nearby Nescopeck a week earlier.
“[A] vehicle had driven into the crowd about 6:15 p.m., and then was driven away,” according to The Patriot-News.
When first responders arrived, they found 17 people injured, including several children, and one dead.
Roughly 10 minutes later, the authorities “received a second call about a man assaulting a woman in a vehicle in Nescopeck.”
“Local police located the male and arrested him … but the woman was dead at the scene,” The Patriot-News reported.
This is the man State Police say drove a car into the crowd of people at a fundraiser in Berwick for the victims of last Friday’s deadly fire in Nescopeck. He was later arrested at a home in Nescopeck where a woman was found dead. His name is being released shortly. pic.twitter.com/wgNk2gXgE8
— Chelsea Strub (@chelseastrub) August 14, 2022
24 year old Adrian Oswaldo Sura Reyes of Nescopeck was arraigned on 2 counts of criminal homicide and denied bail today name in Columbia County
— Chelsea Strub (@chelseastrub) August 14, 2022
What apparently remains unclear is whether the initial crash had been an intentional act of violence or an accident.
“That’s something that is currently under investigation. We have interviews to conclude. We have video surveillance to look at. More information on that will be released,” Trooper Anthony Petroski reportedly said at a press conference.
“This is a complete tragedy in a community where there’s already been tragedy. We are going to do our job to the best of our abilities to conduct a thorough investigation – not only for the families, but the community members. They’re already hurting.”
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.
Reyes’ actions came as a complete shock to the family members of last week’s fire victims.
“This is crazy. I didn’t even bury my kids yet,” Nescopeck volunteer firefighter Harold Baker, who lost a son, daughter, and three grandchildren in the fire, told local media.
A total of 10 people died in the horrific blaze. All 10 were related to Baker.
“Baker … said the 10 victims included his son, daughter, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, three grandchildren and two other relatives. He said his two children and the other young victims were visiting their aunt and uncle’s home for swimming and other summertime fun,” according to the Associated Press.
“All I wanted to do was go in there and get to these people, my family. That’s all that I was thinking about, getting in to them,” Baker said, describing his reaction upon discovering that the home he’d been called to was that of his own family.
“Baker grabbed a hose and air pack, and started pouring water on the fire, desperate to make his way inside and calling out to his son. His chief realized whose house it was, and fellow firefighters escorted Baker back to the firehouse,” according to the AP.
State Police Fire Marshalls and other agencies are sifting though the rubble here on First St. in Nescopeck Borough. We know at this time multiple people are presumed dead. The fire broke out at 2:30 a.m.
We’ll provide details as we learn more. @wnep pic.twitter.com/idoXzo70nV
— Emily Kress (@emilykress_news) August 5, 2022
The fire remains under criminal investigation, though Reyes reportedly isn’t considered a suspect.
“Neighbors tell us again today they thought they heard what sounded like gunshots when the fire broke out. When they looked out their windows, they came outside the front porch, all they saw was a home fully engulfed in flames,” station WBRE/WYOU reported last Monday.
“Neighbors again emphasized this morning that they saw a man being taken into custody at the scene Friday morning. State police are not saying why that man was taken into custody. Also, state troopers only say it’s a ‘complex criminal investigation.’ Another neighbor again tells us that he saw what he thought was a burning fire line — a fire line leading from the front porch out to the middle of the street.”
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