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Multiple injured after vehicle plows through Native American parade, suspect in custody

One suspect is in custody after driving a tan SUV slammed into a parade celebrating Native American culture and heritage in Gallup, New Mexico, Thursday. There is no reason at this time to suspect the incident was motivated by hate, police say.

A suspect is in custody after driving a car through a parade in New Mexico Thursday evening injuring multiple people, including two police officers, police say. 

The parade was a celebration of Native American culture.

New Mexico State Police said 15 people were taken to hospitals after suffering non life-threatening injuries. The two officers who were injured were trying to stop the vehicle, according to police

Jeff Kenn Irving, 33, of Pinedale, New Mexico, is now facing multiple charges, including aggravated driving while intoxicated or impaired, aggravated fleeing and driving with a suspended or revoked license, according to statement from police.

"At this time, there is no reason to suspect this crime was motivated by hate," police said.

The incident unfolded at the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Centennial Celebration, honoring Native American culture and heritage, New Mexico State Police said. The parade started at 7 p.m. according to the event website

Jarring videos shared on social media showed the parade underway with dancers and performers in the street when the tan SUV appeared and people scrambled to run out of its path. Spectators were heard screaming and shouting "oh my God!" as they ran.

The vehicle appeared to speed through the parade route, not slowing down as attendees panicked and tried to flee the scene.

The City of Gallup, located about two hours west of Albuquerque, said in an incident alert at 8 p.m. local time: “Fortunately, no spectators or parade participants have been reported as struck by the vehicle."

However, New Mexico State Police said multiple were injured in the ensuing chaos. A number of the injured was not released and they were treated at the scene, police said.

The City of Gallup said “the vehicle and its three occupants” were detained.

The two passengers in the car with Irving, a 23-year-old male and a 29-year-old male, were detained and taken to the Gallup Detox Center, according to police.

"There have been reports of shots fired but nothing has been confirmed at this time. Gallup Police are on the scene and an investigation is underway,” the alert said.

NBC News has reached out to New Mexico State Police for more details on the arrests.

The parade was a part of an 11-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial.

“Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial is one of the oldest continuous recognitions of Native American culture and heritage and known for attracting an international audience,” a news release for the event said.

Kaelyn Bahe was at the parade and filmed the moment the SUV ran through the route, swerving along the road until it was out of sight.

“Everyone just took off to their cars, I ran straight to mine,” she wrote on Facebook. “Please know I was super shocked and hella scared that I was asking everyone if they were okay.”

Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez shared a live video saying, "We were in the path of the vehicle."

"Thank God that folks that were around me, our team members, our council delegates, were not stuck by the vehicle. It turned the corner and from that point on I don’t know what happened, but before that, it came straight towards us, the vehicle," he said.

Navajo Nation Council Speaker Seth Damon condemned the incident saying, “This was a traumatic and triggering event for many, especially our youth, elders, and our veterans who acted quickly.”

“The Navajo Nation stands with resilience against any acts of violence and sends prayers of protection to those affected,” Damon said, adding, “the perpetrators will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.” 

The Thursday panic was the latest example of violence at community parades.

Last November, an SUV plowed through the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin fatally striking six and injuring dozens more. In Highland Park, Illinois, a Fourth of July parade turned deadly when a gunman opened fired, killing 7 people and wounding dozens others.