George Alvarez, Brownsville, Texas driver criminal history under microscope as local man is charged with manslaughter after killing eight migrants and injuring another ten after driving into them outside border migrant center – as authorities investigate whether the incident was deliberate.
Was it intentional? A man captured on video driving into a group of migrants near a shelter in Brownsville, Texas, killing eight people and injuring 10, has been charged with manslaughter.
George Alvarez, in the immediate aftermath of Sunday morning’s ‘incident’ had been charged with reckless driving, with authorities at the time saying additional charges were likely. Authorities have yet to determine whether the act was deliberate and a potential act of domestic terrorism.
The additional charges come amid revelations that Alvarez, 34, having a long rap sheet which included prior DUI and assault charges.
Chief Felix Sauceda during a Monday press conference told of Alvarez running a red light, losing control of his vehicle and hitting a total of 18 people standing at a bus stop outside the Ozanam Center for migrant and homeless people.
The facility is a homeless shelter that serves individuals and families in the area – and because it sits right on the US-Mexico border, many of its clients are migrants.
Chief Sauceda told of six men dying at the scene and an additional two later. All of the victims had been identified as men, the chief said.
NEW: George Alvarez the guy who lost control of his vehicle and killed several people yesterday in Brownsville Texas
Allegedly Witnesses said he appeared to be intoxicated, possibly under alcohol influence but that has not been confirmed yet.
Local Brownsville media reporting… pic.twitter.com/QT873TTmP8
— Dr. PMS (@ps1ack) May 8, 2023
‘Investigation also revealed that the driver of the vehicle later identified as George Alvarez … had attempted to flee the scene after impact but was held down by several individuals,’ Sauceda said.
Alvarez was charged with manslaughter counts and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond was set at $3.6 million, the chief said.
George Alvarez, 34, allegedly plowed his car into 18 pedestrians at a bus stop in Brownsville, Texas.
What? SHOCKING! 🤣 pic.twitter.com/f8E5RSF0gv
— ABTTAB (@ABTTAB1) May 8, 2023
‘When he drove up, he stepped on the gas,’
The group of mostly 20-25 Venezuelan men were sitting on a curb across the street from the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center shelter at about 8:30 a.m. when a Range Rover SUV ran the traffic light and drove over the people sitting at the stop, according to the head of the shelter.
The migrants had arrived at the shelter just days ago, Victor Maldonado, the director of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center told CNN.
‘It was sudden,’ Luis Herrera, a Venezuelan immigrant at the scene. ‘A woman drove by and told us to leave the area. We started to leave, and in a second the driver came up and was pointing at us, cursing, calling us things like, ‘Motherf—–‘ and other things I didn’t understand.’
‘When he drove up, he stepped on the gas,’ Herrera said, stopping to wipe tears from his face. ‘Full force. He passed over me.’
The chief said the investigation is ongoing.
‘We are working with the Venezuelan government right now, and we have also reached out to other embassies,’ Sauceda added.
Looming migrant crises at the border
It remained unclear what may have led to Alvarez targeting the migrants.
The fatal crash comes as border towns like Brownsville are bracing for a migrant surge when the public health emergency measure known as Title 42 lapses on Thursday. US Customs and Border Protection officials already have seen an uptick in migrants at the border with Mexico in anticipation of the expiration of Title 42.
During a December expose, the center’s director said migrants from all over the world were starting to stay at his shelter and he was seeing an uptick in stays amid backlogs of two years before migration cases could be heard.
Located on the southern tip of Texas, Brownsville’s population is nearly 95% Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2022 census.
The city recently declared a state of emergency after receiving an influx of thousands of migrants, many from Venezuela, in the past several weeks.