SUV plows through 100th annual Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial parade
What was supposed to be a joyous event turned into a nightmarish scene of terrified families screaming for their lives.
Around 7:50 p.m., about 20 minutes into the 100th annual Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial parade on Thursday evening, parade watchers began screaming as they scrambled to avoid an SUV that sped through the crowd on Coal Avenue in downtown Gallup.
According to New Mexico State Police officer Dusty Francisco, multiple people, including two officers from the Gallup Police Department, were injured from the SUV.
Francisco said state police and Gallup police are investigating the incident.
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, who was participating in the parade, said he saw a vehicle trying to hit people sitting along the street watching the parade.
“Thank God that nobody got hurt,” he said.
A witness who wanted to remain anonymous said she and her family were sitting on the corner of Second Street and Route 66 intersection when they heard someone screaming to get out of the way.
“That’s when we saw the car coming. He (The alleged driver) turned the sharp turn to the right. Then everybody just tried to stop him. He hit two people. He hit an old lady and another lady,” the witness said.
Delphelia Begay Charley from Yatahey said she is thankful her 2-year-old daughter and her parents are OK, as she sobbed.
“I’m just thankful my daughter and my parents are OK,” she said.
Heavily armed police officers began scouring the parade route after people reported they heard alleged gunshots. It’s not known if anyone was arrested relating to the alleged call.
Police arrested two suspects allegedly involved in the incident as police led them away in handcuffs.
A New Mexico State Police vehicle, witnesses said blocked the Chevy Tahoe the suspects were driving, showed signs of front-end damage on the driver’s side. Another vehicle, a silver car, witnesses said the SUV allegedly hit, showed signs of damage on its driver’s side. A business also showed signs of damage as skid marks from a tire could be seen driving into it.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident. A motive for what may have caused the SUV drivers to speed down the middle of the parade has not been given.