June 3, 2023

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Know the items that hit and run drivers tested positive in Texas

The first toxicology report did not list drug levels in the bloodstream.

Jorge Alvarez, the man accused of killing eight people after driving into a crowd outside an immigrant shelter in Brownsville, Texas, had cocaine, benzodiazepines and marijuana in his system at the time, police said.

Police are awaiting further toxicology reports before determining the cause of the crash, said Brownsville Police Investigator Martin Sandoval.

Witnesses said they heard the driver express anti-immigrant sentiments after trying to flee the scene.

The first toxicology report, which Sandoval said did not list drug levels in Alvarez’s bloodstream, was prepared by Valley Regional Hospital, where he was taken for treatment of injuries after the crash.

Sandoval said police took a second sample and are testing it for drug levels.

That report will then be given to the Cameron County district attorney, who will determine whether the charges should be changed or added, he said.

Alvarez, 34, faces additional charges stemming from eight counts of manslaughter and 10 other counts of wounding.

As the police investigation continues, the community of Brownsville, a border town long a landmark for immigrants, is reeling.

Many of the van attackers were from Venezuela and had arrived in the United States last week as part of a mass exodus from the troubled country.

They gathered at the Ozanam Center near an overnight bus stop that serves immigrants and the homeless.

A mother appeared exhausted as she took a candlelit stage in Brownsville Monday night, using a microphone to seek justice for her son.

“I want that man to pay for what he did to my son. Please help me,” said the woman through tears.

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His son’s name was Hector David Medina Medero, and his mother, a barber, was a young Venezuelan immigrant who sought safety in the United States.

After leaving the stage set up for speakers at the vigil, another young immigrant held her hand and told her her son had not survived.

The immigrant who grabbed her hand was later identified as Jesus Ferrer by Jared Hochma, chairman of the Cameron County Democratic Party, who helped organize the event.

“His son cut my hair,” said Ferrer, who said he witnessed the accident at the bus stop. He caught Medero’s mother kissing her hair.

“He said it was the last place my son touched before he died,” she later said, according to a video of the conversation.

Melissa Castro, a social activist who filmed the event, said the mother, who was wearing a black medical gown, fell into the crowd’s arms and cried, clutching her stomach and head, writhing in pain.

“I was stunned,” Castro said. “This mother really showed people that these immigrants are just people. Just normal people trying to get by in the world.”

The grieving mother arrived at the Ozanam shelter Tuesday morning to try to see where her son spent his last days, said shelter director Victor Maldonado.

All of her possessions were seized by the authorities when she died, so she conveniently wandered around trying to find anything that belonged to her.

“Luckily, his loafers were still in the bedroom,” Maldonado said. “So now, at least she has that.”

Stopped in time

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He was taken into custody by witnesses after the crash on Sunday morning, according to police and witnesses.

Brownsville Police Chief Felix Sauceda said Monday that Alvarez was not cooperating with the investigation.

Sauceda said authorities have not “ruled out” that the act was intentional. Alvarez’s bail was set at $3.6 million, the chief said.

Many of the victims have been identified as Venezuelans, Saucedo said.

“You could see the victims were wearing shelter clothes and had little bags with little pictures of their mother or family,” said Cameron County Justice of the Peace Cindy Hinojosa, who examined the bodies of the dead.

“They had very rare things. I have a 23-year-old son and it hurts me to think about these poor mothers who don’t know where their children are or if they are alive,” she added.

The tragedy comes amid rising tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, where a spike in migrants is expected after a pandemic-era policy that allowed for the swift removal of asylum seekers at the border is lifted this week.

But Brownsville, north of the Mexican border city of Matamoros, has become a major crossroad for anti-immigration violence and immigration, as the city has long been used for immigration and has seen an increase in it, residents and immigrant advocates say. Among people crossing the border in the last two years.

However, that welcoming attitude may be changing.

Maldonado told The Washington Post that the center received no threats before the crash, but after.

On Monday, a day after Sunday’s accident, a Maldonado man came up to the front door of the shelter and yelled that the accident was their fault.

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In a separate incident on Monday, a man in a blue vehicle stopped in front of the Osanam Center and pointed a gun at a security officer at the front gate, police said in a statement on Tuesday.

He then went to a side door where security guards called the police saying he could not enter the premises.

The man, identified by police as Joseph Sereno, was later arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and reckless driving.

with background

Alvarez was found to have 17 criminal records, including assault with a weapon, resisting arrest, driving while intoxicated and robbery.

Sandoval confirmed that the judge will decide whether to use the death penalty, life imprisonment or the maximum term allowed.

“This is the first time something like this has happened in over 10 years that I’ve worked in the city”; moaned the lieutenant.

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