What we know about the deadly Brownsville crash near a migrant center

UPDATE: Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda identified the driver as George Alvarez, 34, at a press conference Monday morning, May 8. Alvarez was charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and is currently being held on a $3.6 million bond.

Sauceda confirmed Alvarez was apprehended by witnesses at the scene, but couldn’t confirm claims that the driver yelled anti-immigrant obscenities. Police are waiting on a toxicology report for Alvarez and couldn’t say if he intentionally drove into the crowd of people waiting at the bus stop Sunday morning, May 7. 

It was confirmed that several of the victims were from Venezuela and they are working with the Venezuelan government to contact families, Sauceda said. All of the victims were male.

Sauceda said Alvarez hasn’t been cooperative with the investigation and charges could change. 

Original story follows below. 

The driver of a Range Rover is currently in police custody after he ran over and killed pedestrians at a bus stop in front of a Brownsville immigrant shelter Sunday, May 7. Little is still known about why the driver allegedly sped into a crowd of people at a bus stop, but new reports say the driver was allegedly shouting obscenities from his vehicle before running over the people.

Here’s what we know so far.

Eight dead

Reports surfaced Sunday afternoon about a Range Rover plowing into a group of people waiting for a bus in front of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center around 8:30 a.m. The shelter provides aid to immigrants and people who are houseless. The director of the immigrant center told reporters that the SUV drove up the curb, flipped on its roof and continued moving for about 200 feet, hitting people along the way. 

Witnesses then detained the driver before he could run away. The initial death toll was seven but an eighth person later died from their injuries, the New York Times reported. At least 10 other people were taken to the hospital for treatment, some of the severe.

The driver

Brownsville police identified the driver as, George Alvarez, 34. He has been charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and the FBI has also been called to assist with the investigation as to whether the crash was intentional, ABC News reported.

The man was last reported to be in the hospital under 24-hour guard watch. The Brownsville Police Department announced it will held a press conference Monday morning, May 8, to provide more information. 

One of the surviving victims hit by the vehicle, a man from Venezuela, told local news site MyRGV.com Sunday that he heard the man allegedly yell obscenities that were “critical of immigrants.” Another man from Caracas told the New York Times the man yelled the anti-immigrant obscenities as he tried to flee. The police have not confirmed whether the driver yelled obscenities. 

The victims

The identities or ages of the eight dead haven’t been released as of Monday morning, but Brownsville police told ABC News that some of the people hit by the man Sunday were immigrants that are “under the care of border patrol.” On Sunday night, the Ozanam Center held a memorial and rosary for the victims.

Governor sends National Guard to the border

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has not issued a statement on the crash, but Monday morning he held a press conference in Austin ahead of the end of Title 42, which allows for U.S. to expel immigrants during a public health emergency and was enacted during Donald Trump’s presidency. Abbott said at the press conference that he will send 200 members of the Texas National Guard to the border to expel immigrants. 

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement the deadly incident comes after Texas politicians have escalated “anti-immigrant sentiment” ahead of Title 42 ending. 

Abbott was recently under fire after he called the victims of the Cleveland, Texas mass shooting “illegal immigrants.” 

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