New Mexico: several arrested after SUV drives into Native American parade

Police have arrested several people who were in a large SUV that drove through a Native American celebration in New Mexico, causing multiple injuries along a parade route crowded with families. Two local police officers were among those hurt.

The Navajo Nation president, Jonathan Nez, and his family were among those almost hit as a large car drove barreled through.

Police took the driver into custody on Thursday evening but have yet to release details about why the vehicle was speeding through downtown Gallup as thousands of people lined the parade route, although a 33-year-old man who was arrested was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Many captured the chaotic scene on video. People were yelling for others to get out of the way while some pushed paradegoers to safety.

Children performing traditional dances appear to have been among the first to see it rushing toward them. They can be seen running to the side as people scream and families scramble to get out of the way.

Blankets, shoes, banners and umbrellas were left strewn along the street and on the sidewalks as people fled.

Nez said the vehicle was coming at him and a group of tribal officials who were walking in the parade. He thanked people for their quick action.

“We just ask for your prayers for all of the participants,” Nez said in a video posted on social media. “We’re all shook up. You would see this on television, you would think it would never happen here. I’m sorry to say it happened here in Gallup, New Mexico.”

Police said no one was killed and they did not have details on Friday about the conditions of those who were injured.

After speeding down the parade route, the vehicle then swerved on to a side street and pulled into a parking spot before trying to pull out again, hitting a police car. Officers then converged on the vehicle, pulling at least two people out and handcuffing them on the pavement.

The parade was a highlight of the Gallup intertribal ceremonial centennial celebration, which was founded in 1922 to honor Indigenous heritage.

Nez said there were people who had traveled to Gallup from around the Navajo Nation to attend the parade and the other events planned over the course of the celebration.

The Navajo Nation spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

Nez, tribal council members and others expressed their anger and disbelief that something like this could happen.

“It’s supposed to be a celebration, but today it was a difficult time for us,” he said.

Videos show the large brown vehicle speeding down a main street in Gallup, against the direction of the parade.

Children performing traditional dances at the parade, to celebrate the town’s 100th annual inter-tribal ceremony, appear to have been among the first to see the vehicle rushing toward them.

They ran to the side as people screamed and families scrambled to escape.

The event was founded a century ago to honor Native American and Indigenous heritage.

The Guardian

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