BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — In a press conference, authorities with the Brownsville Police Department shared details about the man behind the wheel who police say fatally ran into a mass group of people at a bus stop near the Ozanam center in Brownsville Sunday morning.
Police say the suspect, 34-year-old George Alvarez has a long criminal history.
Alvarez appeared in court as he heard the many charges filed against him in connection to running over 18 men from Venezuela.
This includes 8 counts of manslaughter and 10 counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Brownsville police say 8 people were killed and many more remain in the hospital.
Officers say they’re doing their best to identify all the victims.
“So, it has been a very tiresome process but one that we are deeply committed to accomplishing. We are working with the Venezuelan government right now and we have reached out to other agencies,” said Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda.
Victor Maldonado, executive director of the Ozanam Center said on Sunday morning, many of the men just had breakfast and they were waiting for the bus to take them to downtown Brownsville so they could go to their last stop.
“Very tragic, very tragic situation that happened yesterday, where 7 died instantly and we had one that passed away I believe last night,” Maldonado said.
Authorities say, Alvarez who is from Brownsville, ran a red light, lost control of the vehicle he was in, and hit the group of people.
Police say Alvarez has a long criminal history. This includes driving while intoxicated, criminal mischief, assault, and much more.
“Certainly a tragedy, when you see the amount of people that were involved and the amount of lives lost. We lost somebody yesterday afternoon so it continues to be, I believe we’re up to 8 casualties. So just a tragic event overall and something that when I woke up yesterday morning I certainly didn’t expect something like this,” said Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez.
Officers say there are many more details that are still in question such as if Alvarez was intoxicated, if the vehicle he was in was stolen, and to even confirm if his motive was intentional.
“This was a tragic accident that could happen anywhere. Obviously, PD is still investigating, we don’t know all the details but I will not say that they are any more unsafe than they were before this tragic accident,” said Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr.
Alvarez remains in jail on a bond of $3.6 million.