Security Cameras Shed Light On 'Horrific' Human-Smuggling Incident
Surveillance cameras in a Walmart parking lot helped officials in their investigation into a human-smuggling case that left nine people dead.
[UPDATE: July 24, 2015 9:20 a.m.]
The Justice Department has just announced that a 10th person has died as a result of the human-smuggling incident at a San Antonio Walmart.
Original story posted below.
Surveillance video at a San Antonio Walmart is helping police piece together what happened on Sunday, July 23, leading up to the discovery of a human-smuggling incident.
Eight people were found dead and about 30 others were injured inside a brutally hot semitrailer parked in a Walmart parking lot in what authorities are calling a “horrific scene.” One of the injured died shortly after being discovered, bringing the tally up to nine total deceased.
The others injured were suffering from heat stroke and dehydration as temperatures in south Texas had easily risen to over 100-degrees over the weekend and the truck had no working air-conditioning system. Those inside had no access to water.
The police are describing the event as a human-smuggling attempt. They believe there were more people in the semitrailer at one time as witnesses remark that they’d seen several flee to a wooded area nearby and others be picked up by vehicle as shown on the store’s surveillance video.
An ICE official told ABC News that as many as 100 people could have been in the back of the truck. Federal and local authorities searched the nearby area but did not find any others.
San Antonio Fire Chief Charles Hood told reporters that firefighters arrived on the scene at 12:26 a.m. local time after a Walmart employee had been approached by a man from the truck asking for water. The employee then called the police to report the strange encounter after giving the man some water.
The firefighters pulled people from the truck and they were all taken to different hospitals, some by helicopter.
Authorities are working to find out where the truck came from and how long it had been parked in the Walmart parking lot. They are hoping the surveillance system installed by the Walmart store will be of great help to them when piecing together the events of the weekend.
“By any standard, the horrific crime uncovered last night ranks as a stark reminder of why human smuggling networks must be pursued, caught and punished,” Director for U.S. ICE, Thomas Homan said in a statement. “These networks have repeatedly shown a reckless disregard for those they smuggle.”
Police arrested James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, Florida at the scene of the crime. They would not say if they believe he is the driver of the truck. Bradley is expected to make a court appearance after a criminal complaint is filed Monday.