‘No one feels safe anymore’: Migrants in Brownsville tense after deadly crash and gun incident

BROWNSVILLE, TX – Migrants in Brownsville are on edge after a crash near a migrant center killed several people over the weekend, and police said a man brandished a gun at the location on Monday.

“I don’t feel safe anymore. Nobody feels safe there anymore. Everyone there wants to leave,” said Jesús Moreno, a migrant from Brownsville.

Eight people were killed and several injured after a driver ran a red light and hit a group of people at a bus stop in Brownsville, officials said.

The accident happened around 8:30 a.m. Sunday in front of the Ozanam Center, a shelter for homeless migrants, near Minnesota Avenue and North Bernal Drive in Brownsville, just a few miles from the Texas border.

Moreno said he was across the street at the time of the accident and knew one of the victims.

“This is the moment when you go into shock,” Moreno said. “The mentality of that 18-year-old guy who died there was different. He wanted to work. He wanted to buy his mother a house.

Brownsville Police Department spokesman Martin Sandoval told KSAT that the driver of a gray Land Rover ran a red light at an intersection and crashed into a crowd of 18 people.

Driver George Alvarez was detained and received medical attention. The 34-year-old man is currently being held at the Brownsville City Jail.

Authorities have not yet said whether the accident was intentional. Police Chief Felix Sauceda said Alvarez was charged with eight counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, according to the Associated Press.

In addition, officials are awaiting the results of a toxicological report.

There was a shooting threat at the orphanage on Monday, according to Brownsville Police Public Affairs Officer Martin Sandoval.

Sandoval said police received a call from a man with a gun who had approached the center grounds.

The suspect fled the scene. The police caught the man, but did not find the weapon.

They’ve arrested a marijuana suspect, and authorities are looking for a gun.

“It’s dangerous. People are scared now. People don’t trust anyone,” Moreno said of the migrants.

The Migrant Center is Brownsville’s only overnight shelter and manages the release of thousands of migrants from detention, according to the Associated Press.

Sandragrace Martinez, humanitarian aid in Brownsville, says migrants are on the brink.

“Right now (the crash site) is the sacred ground where it happened. People are very careful not to step on the grass,” Martinez said.

On the other hand, Martinez said, “People walk by and honk and say negative things.”

All of this is happening as Title 42 comes to an end on Thursday. The pandemic-era rule allows the federal government to expel migrants without considering asylum.

As Section 42 ends, a large influx of migrants is expected.

Meanwhile, according to Martinez, border centers for migrants are already full or overcrowded. She said many migrants arrive in the US without a plan and have trouble accessing funds sent to them.

“They can’t get the money because they have to go to Western Union. They have to show ID, which they don’t have, so there needs to be a third party to make this transfer quick and easy,” Martinez said.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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