WAUKESHA, Wis. — Flags across the state were flying at half staff Monday as authorities tried to determine why an SUV hurtled through a barricade and slammed into a Christmas parade in suburban Waukesha on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40.

Reports say that investigators are investigating whether or not the driver tried to flee from an alleged crime. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said the number of dead and injured could change because many people took themselves to hospitals in the chaotic minutes after the tragedy.

Many spectators captured the incident on cellphones and recorded it via city livestream. One video showed the red SUV slamming into a group of young dancers as a woman repeatedly screamed “Oh my God!” 

“Today was a tragic, horrible and unimaginable tragedy. Shawn Reilly from Waukesha, Mayor of Waukesha said that he walked at the beginning in the parade. “I saw smiling children sitting by the curb. “I saw the happy children sat on curbs with their parents. “I can still see their smiling faces.”

Gov. Tony Evers directed that the flags should be flown at 50% on Mondays and the day of funerals. Evers stated that he and Kathy were praying for Waukesha and the families and children affected by this horrible act.

Who drove the SUV’s driver?

Thompson said the investigation was ongoing and that a “suspect vehicle” was recovered. A person of interest was in custody, he said. Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, a Milwaukee man with an open court case related to domestic violence, was  the man taken into custody, according to a law enforcement source with firsthand knowledge of the situation. Brooks was charged in three separate cases within less than 2 years for recklessly endangering others’ safety. He was most recently charged Nov. 5, with a domestic violence incident, and also with resisting or obstruction of an officer.

According to court records, Brooks was released on Friday from prison after posting bail in connection with the incident. Brooks was also charged with second-degree recklessly endangering others’ safety by using a dangerous weapons in July 2020. Both of these cases are still ongoing.

Suspect identified:Darrell Brooks Jr. was identified as the Suspect in Waukesha Christmas parade incident.

Why did it happen?

Officials haven’t made public their suspicions about the motivation of this man. One law enforcement source told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the man had been involved in an earlier incident on Sunday, possibly also related to domestic abuse, just before the parade carnage occurred.

What was the outcome of the parade?

Waukesha is a small city with 72,000 residents, located 20 miles west from Milwaukee. It was hosting a holiday celebration when tragedy struck. Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman, 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.”

Wisconsin’s Christmas Parade was dominated by SUVsperson of interest in custody

Is there any shooting?

Thompson claimed that Thompson was told by Thompson that an officer of the police fired shots at the SUV with the intent to end it. The gunfire did not injure any bystanders. Police don’t think any shots were fired out of the SUV, he said.

Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are responsible for fatalities

According to their website the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies was established in 1984. The group meets once per week to work on routines and prepare for winter parades. They are made up of grandmothers from a range of ages, including those in their 50s and 70s. The group published a post after the crash saying members and volunteers “were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions.” They posted Monday morning that several members of the troupe were dead.

“Those who lost their lives were very passionate Grannies. They adored the joy that comes with being a Grannnie. They were the glue (that) held us together,” the Facebook post said. It is clear that our hearts are breaking at this difficult time. More information will follow as it becomes available. Keep them, their family, friends, and the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, and all those whose lives were forever altered in your prayers and thoughts.

Three or more survivors must be in critical condition

Area hospitals are still caring for victims on Monday. However, it is not clear how many were injured or died. 

Aurora Medical Center–Summit, a hospital in Waukesha County, confirmed it was treating 13 patients early Monday. Of those 13, three people are in “critical” condition, four are in “serious” condition and six are in “fair” condition, according to a statement released by the hospital, which is located about 15 miles away from the scene of the tragedy.

“We are praying for all those impacted, their families and our first responders,” the statement said.

Youth dance team struck

Corey Montiho (a Waukesha board member) said the SUV was a hit on his daughter’s dance group. They left hot chocolate all over the place and left a trail of pom-poms, shoes, and other items. He said, “I had to move from one crumpled body the other in order to find my girl.”

He said his wife and two daughters were almost hit. 

My family is safe, but others aren’t. As I was holding the head of a little girl, her eyes were open and she began to bleed from her ears. As she fell to the ground, I held her mother. Please pray.”

White House releases statement of support to victims

Jen Psaki (White House press secretary) stated that Joe Biden was informed about the incident via Twitter. She tweeted, “Our team has been in contact with the local officials to provide any assistance and support needed.” We are thinking of the victims’ families as well as the whole community.

Green Bay Packers are grateful for the first responders

Sunday was a day of reflection for the Green Bay Packers. They released a statement saying that their thoughts are with Waukesha and those who were affected by the senseless, terrible act at the holiday Parade.

According to the statement, we are very grateful for all the help given by first responders. “We offer condolences for those who have lost their loved ones. We must support one another in this difficult time as a state-wide community.”

Bacon reported in Arlington, Va. Contributing: Ashley Luthern, Daniel Bice, Molly Beck, Sophie Carson and Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

Source: USAToday.com

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