Three days after Sunday’s deadly car crash involving 18 migrants in Brownsville, Texas, little is known about the victims.
Brownsville local George Alvarez, age 34, has been charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after police say his SUV slammed into a crowd waiting for a bus outside a migrant shelter in the city on the U.S.-Mexico border. At least eight people were killed and at least 10 others were injured.
Surveillance video provided by the office of Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) appears to show the moment of impact.
However, information on the victims remains scarce, leaving family members of missing people struggling to locate their loved ones. Brownsville police said Tuesday they have a list of more than 120 people requesting to know if their relatives were among the victims. The families have submitted what photos they can, along with contact information.
Investigators have also collected the fingerprints of the victims, all of whom were male. The police have further revealed that several were from Venezuela. However, the effort has been complicated by the fact that many of the victims were not carrying ID.
Bail has been set for Alvarez, whom police have said has “an extensive rap sheet,” at $3.6 million. Meanwhile, police continue to investigate whether the crash was intentional, though they have acknowledged that the suspect initially “had attempted to flee the scene after impact but was held down by several individuals.”
Police are further investigating witness claims that Alvarez has spouted spouted anti-immigration remarks, and the Venezuelan government has also called for an investigation to determine whether the deadly crash was motivated by hate or xenophobia.
The crash occurred just days before Mexican border towns like Brownsville are bracing for an already growing influx of migrants when Title 42, the pandemic era health policy that allowed for expulsions of migrants at the border, ends on Thursday along with the Covid-19 national public health emergency.
Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda has said that the city has a “process in play” for addressing migrant safety in the wake of the anticipated Surge.