MILWAUKEE — At least 5 people are dead and over 40 people are injured when an SUV sped through a barricade and into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee Sunday, officials confirmed.
Waukesha authorities confirmed the deaths in a statement late Sunday. The police said that the number could rise as more people were transported to hospital.
Revisions to the City of Waukesha’s casualty numbers were posted by it on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. According to the statement, “At this point we are able to confirm that over 40 people have been injured and 5 are dead.” However, we are still collecting additional data so these numbers might change.
Earlier, authorities said 11 adults and 12 children were ferried to local hospitals. Friends and relatives took others. The Children’s Wisconsin hospital stated that it has 15 patients, and there were no deaths.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said the investigation was ongoing, but that a “suspect vehicle” was recovered and that there is a person of interest in custody at the moment.
Thompson stated that some of the wounded were transported by the police to hospital, while others were taken home by relatives.As “very tragic” or “very chaotic.”He declined to give the exact number of deceased individuals, citing the need to notify next of kin first.
This happened at one of the most beloved annual events in the city. The red SUV drove down the street and crashed into the parade participants.
Social media posts, which include a live stream of the Parade operated by City of Waukesha show the red SUV speeding through the barriers to get into the road where it was being held.
Thompson claimed that Thompson was a police officer who fired shots at the SUV trying to stop it. Thompson said that police do not believe the shots were fired from an SUV.
In the city’s footage, taken from a distance, the SUV speeds into the parade just behind a school marching band. Reporter at the scene reported that a red SUV drove down the street and struck many people.
Corey Montiho (a Waukesha School District Board member) said the SUV was a hit with his daughter’s dance team.
They were covered in hot chocolate and pom-poms. He said, “I had to travel from one crumpled body the other in order to locate my daughter.” My wife and my two daughters almost got killed. Pray for everyone. Pray for everyone.
My family is safe, but others aren’t. One little girl was bleeding from her ears, so I grabbed her head and held it in my hands. As she fell to the ground, I held her mother. Please pray.”
Waukesha Schools District posted on Facebook that all public school will close on Monday.
Thompson claimed that the connection between this and terrorism is unknown.
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‘Deafening cries and screams’: Witness describes the chaotic scene
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, said he had just finished marching in the parade with his family and friends before he saw the car drive through the parade.
“We saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” Tenorio said. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.”
Tenorio stated that he witnessed about 10 people on the ground, both children and adults who seemed to have been struck by the vehicle.
He added, “It just all happened so fast.”
Alderman Don Paul Browne said he had been marching in the front of the parade and was almost home when his wife texted asking if he was okay.
He stated, “I am shocked.” This parade attracts people from all parts of the country, including Jefferson County. I am numb. It’s pretty disturbing.”
He said, “My instinct was to assist, but it may not be what the police need.” My best effort is to be an advocate for others. Now we have to think about shootings. It is so hard for me.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he and his wife, Kathy, were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who was at the parade but left just before the incident, called it “an unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions.”
The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th of the event that’s held each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles north of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from the shooting of three men during unrest in that city in August 2020.
Contributing: Cathy Kozlowicz and Kaylee Staral, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press