What We Know About the Deadly Waukesha Parade Rampage

“Please pray,” a district school board member said. “My family is safe, but many are not.”

Nov 22 2021, 2:33pm

An SUV plowed through a Christmas parade in Wisconsin Sunday in a horrific incident that killed at least five people and sent dozens more to the hospital.

The incident happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday, during the 58th annual Waukesha Christmas Parade, approximately 20 miles west of Milwaukee. Livestream and video footage posted to social media shortly after the tragedy shows a red SUV speeding toward and then through the parade.

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“The vehicle struck more than 20 individuals,” Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson said in a late Sunday press conference. “Some of the individuals were children and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident.” So far none of the names of the victims have been released.

Waukesha police took a person of interest into custody Sunday, whom law enforcement has since identified as Darrell Brooks Jr. The 39-year-old was released from jail Friday after posting a $1,000 bond and has two open court cases in Milwaukee County, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and the AP. Brooks was allegedly fleeing a crime, a law enforcement source told the AP. 

Brooks’ most recent charge came on November 5, in a domestic abuse incident in which he allegedly ran a woman “over with his vehicle” in a gas station parking lot, according to the Journal-Sentinel. The woman was the mother of Brooks’ child, according to NBC News

In a Monday statement, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office said Brooks’ bail was recommended by the state and set by the court. The DA said the bail recommendation “was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks," and “not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office toward matters involving violent crime” or the risk assessment of Brooks. 

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Waukesha police said it was unclear whether Sunday’s incident had “any nexus to terrorism,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and Thompson described it as a “very fluid investigation.”

Thompson added that a Waukesha police officer shot at the car “to try and stop the vehicle,” and said that “no bystanders were injured as a result of the weapon discharged.” 

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The Waukesha city government posted shortly after midnight that at least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured.

Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital in Milwaukee, said Monday that 18 children were brought to the emergency room, 16 were admitted, and eight underwent surgery Sunday and Monday. Children as young as three were injured, and their injuries ranged from facial abrasions to serious head injuries.

The Waukesha School District canceled classes on Monday, and said the district would provide “additional counselors available during the school day at all buildings for all students that may be in need of support services.”

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Those in the parade included a high school marching band, a youth dance team, and a group called the “Dancing Grannies,” whose members range in age from their 50s to mid-70s and perform at dozens of parades annually, according to the group’s website. The group appeared to confirm Monday that multiple members had been killed in the tragedy.

“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness,” the group said on Facebook. Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies.”

Waukesha School District board member Corey Montiho told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that members of his daughter’s dance team was hit.

“There were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere,” he said. “I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray. My family is safe but many are not.”

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“I held one little girl's head in my hand, she was seizing and she was bleeding out of her ears. I held her mother as she collapsed,” he told the Journal-Sentinel. “Please pray.”

“Today we experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly, who was at the parade, said in a press conference. “I saw the happy children sitting on the curb, I saw happy parents behind their children. I can still see the smiling faces. A parade is a celebration for our community.”

The following videos contain graphic content.

Video and livestream footage taken by the city as well as parade goers shows a red SUV speeding toward and through the parade, and bystanders trying to help those injured in the immediate aftermath. 

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A Biden administration official said Sunday that the White House is “closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible incident," ABC News reported.

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On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered the state and national flags to be flown at half-staff. 

“Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act,” he said Sunday. “I'm grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information.”

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Tagged:

wisconsin, dancing grannies, Tony Evers, waukesha christmas parade

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