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What is known about the massive hit-and-run that left 8 Venezuelan migrants dead in Brownsville, Texas

Police were preparing Monday to arrest the driver of an SUV that plowed into a group of people waiting for the truck outside a migrant shelter in the border city of Brownsville on Sunday. Texas, leaving at least eight dead and at least 10 wounded. The driver was hospitalized.

With no bench at the bus stop, some of the victims were sitting on the sidewalk around 8:30 in the morning when the driver ran overas seen in a video of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center. Martin Sandoval, a police investigator in brownsvillenoted that police do not know if the collision was intentional.

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The manager of the hostel Victor Maldonadosaid the truck pulled up to the curb, turned around, and continued forward for about 200 feet (60 meters). Some people who were walking by, about 30 feet (10 meters) from the main group, were also hit, Maldonado said. Witnesses detained the driver as he tried to fleehe pointed.

“This truck, a Range Roverhe passed the stop that was about 30 meters (100 feet) away and just continued towards the people who were sitting there at the truck stop”said Maldonado, who reviewed the security video.

Police carry the bodies of the victims of the hit-and-run in Brownsville, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Gonzalez)

The victims were waiting for the bus to return to the city center after spending the night in the sheltersaid Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Most of the victims were Venezuelan men.Maldonado pointed out. Brownsville has seen an increase in Venezuelan migrants in the last two weeks for unknown reasons, authorities said. Of the 6,000 migrants who were in Border Patrol custody in the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, 4,000 were Venezuelans.

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The driver was taken to the hospital for injuries sustained when the vehicle rolled over, Sandoval stated. There were no passengers, and police did not immediately know the name and age of the driver, he added Sunday afternoon.

Sandoval said there were three possible explanations for the collision: “It could be poisoning; it could have been an accident; Or it could be intentional. In order for us to find out what exactly happened, we need to remove the other two.”

“He is showing a very uncooperative attitude at the hospital, but he will be transferred to our city jail as soon as he is released,” Sandoval said. “We will take your fingerprints and your transfer photo, and then we can find out your true identity.”

The police took a blood sample and sent it to the laboratory of the Department of Public Security in Texas to be tested for toxic substances.

This week’s increase in the number of migrants forced the commissioners of brownsville to indefinitely extend a declaration of emergency during a special meeting on Thursday.

“We don’t want them wandering out there,” said Pedro Cardenas, city commissioner, after the accident. “So we’re trying to make sure they’re as comfortable as possible so they don’t have to go out and look elsewhere.”

For a long time brownsville has been an epicenter of migration through the border between the United States and Mexico, and has become a key point of interest as the end of border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, known as Title 42, which will conclude next week. He Ozanam hostel it is the only overnight hostel in the city and handles the flow of thousands of migrants after they are released from federal custody.

Maldonado said that the center had not received threats before the crash, but afterward.

“There were a couple of people who came to the door and told the security guard that this happened because of us,” Maldonado commented.

about 2,500 migrants They have crossed the river daily to brownsville in recent days, Cardenas said. He said Border Patrol is aware that the city has a capacity of 1,000 people in its processing zone near a crossing point and a building downtown where employees and volunteers tell migrants how to buy bus tickets or plane to its final destination. The city is considering expanding its services to meet needs in the coming days, Cardenas said.

Although 80% of people released from federal custody leave the city that same day, a bottleneck has formed in recent days, the city’s emergency management official said.

“Most people who cross don’t want to stay in brownsvillebut we don’t have enough buses for them to buy their tickets and leave”, Cardenas commented. “Some are waiting for their relatives.”

The Ozanam hostel has a capacity for about 250 people, but many of those who arrive leave the same day. In recent weeks, an increase in border crossings forced the city to declare an emergency as local, state and federal authorities coordinated the security and humanitarian response.

“In the last two months, we have received from 250 to 380 people a day”Maldonado said.

Although the hostel offers transportation to migrants during the week, they also use public transport.

Rochelle Garza, president of the Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit advocacy body, said in a statement: “I hope that what happened today is a wake-up call and that the state authorities begin to invest in the humanitarian response that could have helped the people who were affected by this morning’s tragedy.”

Federal representative Vicente González said Sunday that local officials are in communication with the federal government regarding the incident.

“We are extremely saddened and heartbroken that a tragedy like this has happened in our neighborhood,” commented.

Source: Elcomercio

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