Eight victims believed to be migrants killed

Nabil Anas
Nabil Anas

Global Courant 2023-05-08 07:27:39

Eight people waiting at a bus stop in a Texas border town were killed Sunday and a dozen others were injured when a vehicle slammed into them, officials said.

The victims, who are believed to be migrants, were standing at a Catholic charity in Brownsville known as the Ozanam Center, a senior law enforcement official said.

Shortly after the crash, at around 8:30 a.m., seven deaths were reported. Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez later said one more person had died.

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“Several others remain critical,” Mendez said a statement on Facebook.

Initially, the senior law enforcement official said, authorities believed it was a deliberate act. The official later said it is not clear whether it was intentional and that the investigation into the motive is ongoing.

Brownsville Lieutenant Martin Sandoval echoed that in an interview, saying police were also investigating whether the driver was drunk or if the incident was an accident.

But, Sandoval said, the driver, a Hispanic man, has not cooperated with investigators.

Emergency services removed a damaged vehicle after a deadly collision in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday.Michael Gonzalez/AP

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“He gave us several names,” Sandoval said, adding that authorities are waiting for a fingerprint match that they hope will positively identify the driver, who has been charged with reckless driving.

Sandoval said more charges are likely. The FBI is assisting the Brownsville Police Department with the investigation, a spokesman for the agency said.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland has been briefed on the incident, the Justice Department said.

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Ambulances took 11 injured people to local hospitals at 8:30 am Brownsville Fire Department said on his official Facebook page.

One of the injured was transported by helicopter to Valley Baptist Medical Center in nearby Harlingen, the fire department said.

A migrant from Venezuela who spent three days at the Ozanam Center told NBC affiliate KVEO of Brownsville that he almost got hit.

“We stood there waiting and the truck sped through the traffic light, and by the grace of God nothing happened to us, but they did hit the others around us,” the man, who gave his name as Jesus, told the broadcaster. station.

Brownsville is one of the border towns already seeing a wave of migrants trying to enter the US from Mexico before the Title 42 immigration program expires Thursday.

The Covid ban, imposed in the last year of the Trump administration, has sent migrants back to Mexico more than 2.5 million times since it went into effect in March 2020.

Mendez, the mayor, said Sunday afternoon that what happened remained unclear.

“As we continue to receive information about the tragic incident that took place today, we have not yet received evidence that this was an intentional act,” the mayor said.

Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said the Ozanam Center is sheltering some migrants overnight. She said it has not received any direct threats related to the border crisis in recent weeks.

“It’s a real shame that this tragic thing happened,” Pimentel said. “It’s something that, with all the focus on the migrants, should draw attention to those who oppose them.”

Migrants “don’t deserve to face this tragic reality,” Pimentel said.

Eight victims believed to be migrants killed

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