Members of the band Moe. said they were in a state of “profound shock and sadness” on Monday (Jan. 1) after a deadly car crash outside their New Year’s Eve show at the Kodak Center in Rochester, NY that killed several.
According to WABC, police are investigating the incident as a possible act of terrorism. The incident took place around 12:50 a.m. as around 1,000 people were leaving the band’s Dec. 31 show. Rochester Police Department officers were helping fans navigate the crosswalk outside the venue in the early morning hours when a Ford Explorer ran into a Mitsubishi Outlander that was pulling out of a nearby parking lot.
The force of the crash reportedly caused the two vehicles to plow through a group of pedestrians as well as two other vehicles, with a large fire breaking out as a result that took nearly an hour to extinguish, according to the report. Once the fire was extinguished, first responders reportedly found at least a dozen gas canisters in and around the Expedition, prompting a response from the Rochester Police Department’s Bomb Squad and Joint Arson Task Force, as well as the FBI.
Two people in the Outlander were killed and the unnamed driver was taken to Rochester General Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while a number of other pedestrians and a Rochester police officer were also struck by vehicles; one of the three pedestrians was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries while the other two are reportedly in non-life-threatening condition.
On Tuesday morning (Jan. 2), Syracuse.com reported that the total death toll had risen to three, including the alleged driver of the Expedition, whom the New York Post identified as Michael Avery, who reportedly died at 8 p.m. on Monday night.
The band released a statement in response to the crash, writing, “Last night’s events outside the Kodak Center have left us all in profound shock and sadness. On a night that was meant for celebration and togetherness, we are faced instead with a tragedy that defies understanding. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives, and our thoughts are with those who were injured.”
Moe. thanked the first responders and venue staff for their “swift and courageous” actions securing the safety of fans, as well as their fans, the Famoe.ly, for their support and resilience. “In these moments of confusion and grief, we stand together in solidarity,” the note continued. “We believe in the power of music to heal and unite, and it is in this spirit that we will continue to move forward.”
According to WABC, at press time authorities were still not sure that the crash was a deliberate act of terrorism, but are investigating it as such until they can determine a cause of the accident. Law enforcement sources told the station that reported Expedition driver Avery was from Syracuse and that he drove his own vehicle to the Syracuse airport, where he rented an extra-large SUV. The Post additionally reported that Avery allegedly rented a hotel room in Rochester, where investigators are said to have found a suicide note.
At press time Billboard was unable to reach a spokesperson for the Rochester Police Department for additional information on the incident.
Investigators are reportedly combing through the Expedition driver’s social media, as well as interviewing friends and family in search of additional information that might provide clues about why there were so many gas canisters in the vehicle.
See the band’s full statement below.
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