State police at Rockview commented on the post in the press release, saying, “contrary to social media, this incident has been determined to not be related to any terroristic activity.” A widely shared social media post Sunday alleged the vehicle was occupied by “three jihadi terrorists.”
Paonessa-Velez turned himself in on Sunday and is facing numerous charges.
An updated press release detailing the incident was released by police early Tuesday morning.
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As previously reported, on Sunday night, at about 11:20 p.m. Sunday night, police responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle, a black Chevy Impala with “heavily tinted windows.” The vehicle displayed a Pennsylvania registration plate.
When a trooper arrived at the church, he observed two male individuals sitting in the Impala. He made contact with the individuals in the vehicle and asked for identification.
The individuals failed to supply identification and sped off “through the church parking lot and onto state route 45 and the trooper gave chase,” police said.
According to the press release, “the pursuit continued onto Weaver Road and continued onto Sinking Creek Road.” The trooper reported that “at this time the fleeing vehicle was now observed to display a Vermont registration plate.”
The release recounted the chase detailing, “the pursuit continued onto state route 144, southbound and the occupants of the fleeing vehicle ripped off the window tint and threw it out the window.”
Police said “the pursuit continued onto U.S. Route 322, eastbound and into Mifflin County where spike strips were attempted to be deployed but were unsuccessful.” Pursuit ended when the vehicle avoided apprehension.
According to the press release, the fleeing vehicle was later located in York at about 3:30 p.m.
On Monday Paonessa-Velez was identified and turned himself in.
Paonessa-Velez is facing a host of charges, including a felony count for fleeing, eluding, reckless endangerment and numerous summary traffic violations.
Paonessa-Velez waived his preliminary hearing scheduled for Jan. 6 early Tuesday morning. The hearing has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. Jan. 20 with District Judge Thomas Jordan.
According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Paonessa-Velez had warrants for his arrest, including “12 counts of aggravated identity theft for stealing the means of identification of 12” Adams County National Bank customers.
Jalelah Ahmed: 814-231-4631, @jalelahahmed