Seven dead in Texas after car drove into crowd outside migrant center

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Photo: Brian Svendsen/AP

Seven people were killed and at least six others injured after a car crashed into a crowd outside a shelter for migrants and homeless people in Brownsville. Texason Sunday, and investigators believe it may have been intentional, according to authorities.

The car sped into a crowd of people seated at a bus stop near the Ozanam Center around 8:30 a.m., the police department in Brownsville, near the Texas-Mexico border, said. That came four days ahead of the scheduled expiration of Title 42, the Covid-19-era policy that allows border guards to quickly expel migrants at the US southern border.

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The shelter’s director, Victor Maldonado, told the Associated Press that while reviewing the shelter’s surveillance footage, he saw an SUV hit a light and crash into the crowd of people who were at the bus stop. The majority of those injured or killed were Venezuelan men.

“What we see in the video is this SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about a hundred feet away and just drove through the people who were sitting there at the bus stop,” Maldonado said.

Police Lieutenant Martin Sandoval told The Valley Central news agency reported that seven victims died at the scene and several others were taken to nearby hospitals.

Video filming posted online showed crowds at the scene, while clothing and other personal belongings were strewn all over the street. Several people appeared to be tending to one person lying on a lawn.

Sandoval said the driver was arrested and charged with reckless driving. More charges are likely to be filed, which officials strongly suspect may have been a premeditated act, Sandoval added.

The only overnight shelter in Brownsville, the Ozanam Center administers the release of thousands of migrants from federal custody and provides free transportation to migrants.

“For the last two months we’ve been getting 250 to 380 a day,” Maldonado told the Associated Press, adding that although the shelter can hold up to 250 migrants, many of those who arrive also leave on the same day.

“Some of them were on their way to the bus station because they were on their way to their destination,” he said.

Two days earlier, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas called The immigration Authorities faced “extremely challenging” circumstances days before the end of asylum restrictions imposed by Title 42 during the Covid-19 pandemic along the border with Mexico.

The past two weeks has seen a wave of Venezuelan migrants through south Texas, particularly in and around the border community of Brownsville, for reasons Mayorkas said were unclear.

As of Thursday, 4,000 of about 6,000 migrants held in border patrol detention in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were Venezuelans.

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