LINCOLNTON, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Lincolnton Police arrested the suspect in connection to a video released of a car driving into a crowd of migrant workers in a Walmart parking lot.
On Monday night, police said they arrested Daniel Gonzalez, 68, of Hickory, on a felony hit and run charge. The FBI Charlotte office confirmed with Queen City News that they’re assisting the police department with their investigation.
Below is the initial 911 call that was made to emergency personnel on Sunday. It has been edited for public records release, authorities said.
The incident happened at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, July 30, and shows an older dark-colored SUV turn in front of a bus and go over a parking lot divider. The workers were standing on that divider.
Six people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the incident.
Lincolnton Police said Gonzalez’ family members said he told them he was parking at Walmart and hit the gas by accident. The family members said he told them he panicked and left the scene.
Gonzalez has been cooperative with detectives, police say, and LPD has recovered the vehicle involved in the incident. Officers have also notified the victims.
Lincolnton Police told Queen City News that they have other videos of the incident at a closer angle which may help with the case.
“They always come and get groceries every week,” said Dana Rochelle Trinidad, who shops at Walmart and frequently sees the migrant workers. “They’re really sweet people; we always speak to them.”
The incident has shocked those in Lincolnton, though it is not surprising to organizations that offer services to them, noting the increasingly volatile atmosphere politically.
“It’s absolutely disheartening to see what evidently appears to be a race-motivated incident, where somebody went out of their way to harm six migrant workers who were trying to complete very simple tasks,” said Stefanie Arteaga of the Carolina Migrant Network.
She said that, no matter how the case turns out, the incident will have significant shades of a national conversation on crimes against migrants and immigrants.
Lincolnton Police said earlier on Monday that they are also still trying to understand whatever motive there was for Sunday’s incident.
Gonzalez received a $50,000 secure bond.