El Paso police have located, arrested, and charged a man who allegedly pointed his gun at migrants who were gathered outside a church on New Year’s Eve. City officials said in a statement on Thursday that a 911 caller had reported a man “harassing migrants” outside the house of worship, identified as Sacred Heart Church by Border Report.
Roughly two hours later, the man was spotted near a Greyhound station by the same caller. While not noted by either Border Report or police, it’s quite possible he was looking to further harass more vulnerable people, as Greyhound is frequently used as transportation by newly arrived migrants. A police unit in the area attempted to conduct a stop, but the man, now identified as 27-year-old Steven Mathew Driscoll, got back into his car and fled.
Both Border Report and city officials say Driscoll was initially able to get away because the unit had apparently broken down in some manner. “Because of a mechanical issue, the police unit became disabled and lost sight of the suspect,” El Paso said. “The following day, the El Paso Police Department was able to locate the vehicle,” with investigators identifying and arresting Driscoll on Jan. 4.
“Driscoll was charged with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon (1st Degree Felony), Evading Arrest and or Detention in a Motor Vehicle (3rd Degree Felony), and Disorderly Conduct (Class B Misdemeanor),” city officials said in the statement. “He was booked into the El Paso County Jail late last night. The El Paso Police Department continues the investigation of this incident.”
Thankfully, no migrants were physically harmed during the incident, which comes just weeks after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned of domestic terror threats to groups including migrants. At that time, the Biden administration was planning on lifting the anti-asylum Title 42 policy following a court ruling. DHS said “potential changes in border enforcement policy, an increase in noncitizens attempting to enter the U.S. or other immigration-related developments’ may heighten calls for violence,” NBC News reported.
Just weeks before that, brothers Mike and Mark Sheppard shot at a group of migrants who were “standing alongside the road getting water,” the Texas Department of Public Safety said. Two were hit, with one being tragically killed. One of the brothers, Mike Sheppard, was later identified as a former jail warden for a detention facility with a history of abuses against detained migrants. The state’s governor, Republican Greg Abbott, has embraced anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric in spite of a white supremacist carrying out a massacre at an El Paso Walmart in 2019. That mass murderer cited a supposed “Hispanic invasion.” Texas Republicans have also targeted Catholic humanitarian workers for aiding migrants processed and released by U.S. federal officials.
“Investigators say they continue to speak with possible witnesses, many of whom are migrants who were in the area when the incident occurred,” Border Report said in its initial write-up. Undocumented migrants who are victims of crime and work with law enforcement could be eligible for certain humanitarian visas that grant permanent status in the U.S.