Shocking video captures moment before car rammed into migrants outside Brownsville shelter

Disturbing security camera footage has emerged of the moment an SUV ploughed into pedestrians waiting for a bus in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday morning, killing eight people and wounding several more.

The footage shows a group of between 20 to 25 men waiting idly on the pavement outside of the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center in the border city.

A grey Range Rover is then seen speeding into view from North Minnesota Avenue towards Boca Chica Boulevard and running straight into the crowd of people, sending bodies scattering.

The car itself flips onto its side after hitting the curb and slides along a short distance before skidding to a halt.

Shelter director Victor Maldonado, who rushed out of the centre in the aftermath of the fatal crash, told CNN: “This SUV, a Range Rover, just ran the light that was about 100ft away and just went through the people who were sitting there in the bus stop.”

At least eight people were killed in the incident and a further nine were taken to hospital, most of whom are said to be Venezuelan migrant men who had stayed overnight at the centre before returning to downtown Brownsville.

The driver, a Hispanic male who has not been named, was detained by passersby at the scene before being taken to hospital for treatment.

He was arrested and, so far, has only been charged with reckless driving, although other charges could follow.

Investigators are currently seeking to establish whether his actions were accidental or intentional and are working to determine whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time. Police said he has been “very uncooperative” with the investigation.

“We are doing an investigation in forms of intoxication to see if he was intoxicated at the time of the accident,” Brownsville police investigator Lt Martin Sandoval told reporters.

Footage captures the fatal crash at a migrant shelter in Brownsville (Rep Henry Cuellar’s office)
Footage captures the fatal crash at a migrant shelter in Brownsville (Rep Henry Cuellar’s office)

“It can be three factors. It could be intoxication; it could be an accident; or it could be intentional. In order for us to find out exactly what happened, we have to eliminate the other two.”

Brownsville has declared a state of emergency in recent weeks after thousands of migrants, many from Venezuela, flocked to the city.

On Thursday, 4,000 of about 6,000 migrants in Border Patrol custody in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley were Venezuelan.

But, despite this, Sister Norma Pimentel, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, said the Ozanam Center had received no direct threats prior to Sunday’s incident.

Mr Maldonado likewise said there had been no prior threats – but there have been since.

“I’ve had a couple of people come by the gate and tell the security guard that the reason this happened was because of us,” he told the Associated Press.