The deranged driver who killed two people when he drove his SUV into a Rochester crowd New Year’s Day meticulously planned the deadly assault for days, authorities revealed Tuesday.
Michael Avery, the 35-year-old suspect from Syracuse who died in the carnage, had rented a Ford Expedition — and then spent Dec. 30 driving around to different places in Monroe and Ontario counties to buy about a dozen portable gas cans to fuel his deadly plan, officials said.
Chilling video footage captured the death driver buying some of his supplies, authorities said.
But officials acknowledged that while they have since searched Avery’s hotel room at WoodSpring Suites Rochester Greece, where he stayed before the horror, as well as his car, which he left at the Rochester airport, they are no closer to figuring out his motive.
Rochester Police Chief David Smith only revealed during a press conference that Avery was likely suffering from “possible undiagnosed mental health issues” when he launched his attack, which also wounded nine people.
“Investigators are still combing through evidence recovered from his vehicle, but nothing thus far has been recovered that provides any additional insight into why this occurred,” Smith said, before asking the public to call the city police’s major crimes unit if they had any information.
The chief said cops haven’t found any clues implying someone else was involved or that Avery was part of some larger plot.
He reiterated that Avery didn’t seem motivated by a particular political or social ideology, which an FBI agent further buttressed in a brief statement from the podium.
“So far, we’ve uncovered no evidence of an ideology and no nexus to terrorism, either international or domestic,” said Jeremy Bell, the special-agent-in-charge of the FBI’s local office.
But a litany of questions remain.
Smith said Avery left no suicide note or journal. And cops don’t know why he chose to hit Rochester or the Kodak Center in particular.
About 12:50 a.m. Monday, he barreled into the crowd filing out of the Kodak Center after a show by moe., a Grateful Dead tribute band from Buffalo.
Two Rochester cops were helping walkers cross the street when Avery sped toward them, crossed into the oncoming lane and slammed into an Uber as it pulled out of a nearby parking lot, Smith said.
The couple in the back of the rideshare was killed, and the Uber driver was rushed to the hospital but was not severely hurt.
Nine other people were injured after the cars careened into the crowd and burst into flames after the collision.
One person suffered “life-altering injuries,” though the rest should make a full recovery, the chief said.
Avery was brought to the hospital and died of his injuries around 8 p.m. Monday, law enforcement sources told The Post.
Avery had driven to Rochester in his personal car Dec. 27, Smith said.
He rented the Expedition two days later from an agency at the Rochester airport, then left his own car behind, Smith added.
Cops are still talking with Avery’s family, the chief said.