ALERT: Deadly Terror Attack In Deep Blue State

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

An investigation is underway to determine if a fatal and incendiary collision, which took place near a recreational establishment in upstate New York on the morning of New Year’s Day, might potentially be classified as an act of terrorism. This information was disclosed by a law enforcement source who provided details to ABC News.

According to the city’s police chief, David Smith, two individuals lost their lives after a Ford Expedition collided with a Mitsubishi Outlander as it was leaving a parking lot at the Kodak Center in Rochester.

According to the chief, two individuals in the Mitsubishi Outlander lost their lives, while the driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital. According to an official briefed on the investigation, the driver of the Ford Expedition also perished.

The police chief stated that a minimum of twelve gasoline canisters were discovered by first responders in and around the Ford Expedition after the fire was put out.

“We are continuing to work with our federal partners, including the FBI, to learn exactly what led to this crash,” Smith said.

According to Smith, three individuals involved in the accident were taken to a nearby hospital. One of them was in critical condition, while the other two had injuries that were not life-threatening.

Investigators issued search warrants and conducted interviews throughout the night in order to get additional information about the driver, whose identity was not immediately known, and to gain insight into his personal circumstances, according to the official.

The collision took place at approximately 12:50 a.m. on Monday in close proximity to a crossing, when attendees of the event were exiting the venue, as stated by Smith.

“The force of the collision caused the two vehicles to go through a group of pedestrians that were in the crosswalk, and then into two other vehicles,” Smith said at a press briefing on Monday. “There was a large fire associated with the crash that took the Rochester Fire Department almost one hour to extinguish.”

No further information regarding the victims has been disclosed.

The Joint Terrorism Task Force is spearheading the probe, as stated by the law enforcement source. The authorities are currently conducting an investigation to establish whether this incident can be classified as an act of terrorism. The source stated that they are approaching the investigation with a focus on terrorism until they can ascertain the nature and motive behind the incident.

The investigators are presently examining the driver’s electronic devices and social media accounts. Additionally, they are conducting interviews with the driver’s acquaintances and family members in order to gather supplementary evidence that could shed light on the presence of numerous gas cans in the vehicle.

ABC News has learned that the driver, who hails from Syracuse, utilized his personal vehicle to travel to the Syracuse airport, where he proceeded to rent an extra-large SUV.

According to officials, the vehicle involved in the collision was a Mitsubishi Outlander being used as an Uber.

The local law enforcement authorities and Mayor Malik Evans of Rochester have strongly encouraged individuals to provide any available information.

“I know that the community will have lots of questions as it relates to this. I ask them to continue to stay tuned,” Evans said during Monday’s briefing. “More information will come out as we are able to.”

Richard Frankel, an ABC News contributor, stated that the presence of multiple gas cans at the scene necessitates an investigation into the incident as a potential act of terrorism, until evidence suggests otherwise.

“All matters where you’re not sure of what they are, but there’s loss of life and they can’t be explained away immediately as an accident, have to be looked at as if they’re terrorism until they’re proven to not be terrorism,” Frankel said.

Frankel, a former head of the FBI’s Buffalo office and an authority in terrorism investigations, stated that the occurrence coincides with a period of heightened anxiety among law enforcement on the exacerbation of tensions across the country due to domestic politics and the conflict in the Middle East.

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