WAUKESHA, Wis. –  An 8-year-old boy has died, the sixth fatality after a man who appeared to be on a mission to “strike and hurt as many people as possible” drove an SUV into a Christmas parade route on Sunday, authorities say.

Sue Opper, Waukesha County District attorney, announced Tuesday’s sixth death. Five counts of intentional homicide in the first degree were filed against Darrell Brooks Jr. of Milwaukee. Opper also stated that a sixth charge of homicide would be brought.

Police say Brooks was fleeing a domestic disturbance where a knife was reported when he rammed an SUV dozens of people on the parade route Sunday night, injuring more than 60.

The mandatory prison sentence for first-degree intentional murder is life imprisonment if it’s convicted. Others are possible.

Opper mentioned Brooks long list of convictions in Wisconsin and other states, before asking for $5,000,000 bail. Court commissioner Kevin Costello granted the request.

Costello stated that he was bothered by the statements of officers that Brooks’ actions during the parade seemed intentional.

Costello stated that the nature of this crime was shocking. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire career.” 

The criminal written complaint contains a chilling observation from one police officer who watched Brooks pass by several options to exit the parade route, and instead increase his speed:

“At this point, it was clear . . . that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible,” the complaint said.

A witness told a detective a similar account of the car, the complaint said: “It continued to drive in a zigzag motion. The SUV seemed to be trying to avoid other vehicles and not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down.”

Another witness told police he felt it was “a direct intent to hit as many parade participants,” the charges say. 

The complaint also details several attempts by police to stop Brooks.

Brooks was free on $1,000 bail posted Friday for another pending case that included an allegation he deliberately hit a woman with his car in early November after a fight. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said it launched an internal review of its “inappropriately low” bail recommendation in that case.

In court Tuesday, Brooks hung his head at the defense table during the hearing. The Associated Press reported he cried as the charges against him were detailed. 

Waukesha Effect:The national security of the country is threatened by an influx in weapons-equipped vehicles driving into people.

Here’s the information we have as investigators seek answers:

Over $1M has been raised to help victims

Donations to aid the victims of Sunday’s fatal parade crash, some of whom were children, poured in Tuesday.

Nearly $900,000 had been raised by Tuesday evening in about two dozen GoFundMe-verified pages for parade victims. On Tuesday afternoon, another community fund had already surpassed $900,000.

Some of the victims were still fighting for their lives, according to the campaigns.

One child wasn’t aware how severely she was hurt but “but managed to say, ‘just glue me back together,’” family friend Oscar Luna wrote in the GoFundMe page for a girl named Jessalyn. “Only a child could reference themselves as a little doll in this situation.”

Luna explained that Jessalyn broke her pelvis, lost one kidney, and now has severe damage to her liver, lungs and liver.

Brothers Tucker and Jackson Sparks were among multiple siblings hospitalized after the crash. 

Jackson, 8, later died from his injuries according to a Tuesday afternoon update on his verified GoFundMe page. The update was confirmed by his baseball club and his family’s church.

Six children are still in “critical condition,” and total of 13 children are still being treated at Children’s Wisconsin as of Tuesday evening, according to a news release from the hospital.

Loved ones mourned the victims who died. Several of those killed were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies – who entertained crowds across the area for decades with their pompoms, sense of humor and moxie.

Virginia Sorenson (79), was the core of the group. 

Ginny is her name. She had a bad back and a bad hip but loved to dance.

What did she love about it? Everything,” said her husband of 56 years, David Sorenson. She liked instructing. She loved the music and the camaraderie among the women. She enjoyed performing.”

Sorenson, a 19-year veteran of the Dancing Grannies, was near the back of the group holding a banner when she was killed.

Home security video appears to show  suspect’s arrest 

A home security video appears to show Brooks’ arrest after he approached a resident asking for help, NBC News reported.

Brooks knocked on the resident’s door Sunday about 20 minutes after the crash and told the resident he was homeless and waiting for an Uber.    

According to NBC News’ resident, he told NBC News that he was out hunting but wasn’t aware about the events at the parade. Brooks entered, he handed him a jacket, sandwich, and let him use the phone until NBC News reported that police cars passed by.

Brooks asked him to leave and, as he was leaving, officers approached and instructed him to raise his arms. Part of that interaction was captured on the home security video.

We know a lot about the suspect

Thompson provided few details of the domestic disturbance that happened before Brooks drove through the parade but said there had been a report of a knife and police did not respond to that scene before they went to the parade. 

Thompson claimed Brooks did not act alone. There was also no evidence of terrorist acts or Brooks knowing anyone involved in the parade.

Wisconsin horror:Timeline for SUV driver’s destructive path on Waukesha parade route

Brooks was freed on $1,000 bail two days before the deadly event, which has drawn scrutiny and renewed calls for giving judges more power to set higher bails. 

Brooks was arrested and charged this month after a woman told police he intentionally ran her “over with his vehicle” in the parking lot of a gas station after he followed her there following a fight, according to a criminal complaint.

The $1,000 bail recommended by prosecutors and accepted by the court commissioner in the case was called “inappropriately low” by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in a statement Monday.

According to the statement, the bail did not conform to the office’s approach in cases “involving violent crimes”, nor with the risk assessment made by the defendant before setting bail.

Brooks has been charged with crimes 10 times since 1999, including three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others. Brooks was recently arrested in relation to a domestic violence incident on Nov. 5. He was also charged for resisting and obstructing officers.

The community holds the vigil 

A cold and windy candlelight vigil Monday night included clergy reciting prayers for those mourning while volunteers handed out candles and hot chocolate.

“We walk that street every day, it’s home, and it just hits really close to home,” said Kim Mischalouski, a Waukesha resident for 30 years. To help me feel better, tonight was. It’s not there yet, but it’s coming, and I was hoping there was going to be something like this.” 

Contributing: Bill Glauber, Sophie Carson, Sarah Volpenhein, Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com


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