WAUKESHA, Wis. — The driver of an SUV that hurtled through a barricade and slammed into a Christmas parade in suburban Waukesha on Sunday was fleeing from a domestic disturbance moments before he killed at least five people and injured more than 40 others, police said.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson stated Monday that Darrell Brooks Jr. was running from a domestic disturbance and a report about a knife. He rammed into the parade. Thompson stated that Brooks wasn’t being pursued. He will be charged with five counts of intentional homicide, Thompson added.
The deceased victims’ were four women and a man with ages ranging from 52 to 81. Thompson said 48 others were injured in the crash, which was captured on the city’s livestream as the SUV struck a high school band, children’s dance group and the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.
Officials at the local hospital stated Monday morning that six children are in serious condition. Children’s Wisconsin Hospital received 18 patients, from the age of 3 to 16, including three sets of siblings, doctors said.
“Last night our Waukesha Parade became the tragic scene of an awful tragedy. At Monday’s news conference, Shawn Reilly from Waukesha was clear that the parade had turned into a disaster.
Gov. Tony Evers directed that the flags should be flown at 50% on Mondays and the day of funerals. Evers told Kathy that he was praying for Waukesha tonight, as well as all those affected by the senseless act. The city of Waukesha said it would hold an interfaith prayer vigil Monday.
Who drove the SUV’s driver?
Thompson stated that Brooks was a Milwaukee man who had an unresolved case relating to domestic violence. He will be facing five first-degree intentional murder charges.
Thompson provided few details of the domestic disturbance beyond that there was a report of a knife. He said police did not respond to that scene before they immediately went to the parade. Thompson stated that Brooks was the only one acting and there was not evidence of terrorism.
Thompson stated, “This investigation is fluid.”
Brooks was arrested three times for recklessly endangering safety. The most recent incident occurred Nov. 5. He was accused of domestic abuse and resisting/obstructing officers.
Brooks, the latest case in which Brooks was accused of intentionally running a woman over while she was passing through a station parking lot, after having followed her to that location after a fight. According to court records, the woman was taken into hospital.
According to court records, Brooks was released Friday from jail 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. These cases remain open.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said it has launched an internal review of its “inappropriately low” bail recommendation in the recent domestic violence related case. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office reports that Brooks had posted a $1,000 bond.
Suspect identified:Darrell Brooks Jr. has been identified by the suspect in Waukesha’s Christmas Parade incident.
Was it a success?
Waukesha, a city of 72,000 people 20 miles west of Milwaukee, was celebrating the holidays with a parade when disaster struck at about 4:39 p.m. local time. Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman, said he had just finished marching in the parade with his family and friends when he saw the vehicle 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.”
SUV slams into Wisconsin Christmas parade• person of interest’ in custody
Thompson claimed that he arrived on the spot shortly after the crash. “What I saw out of chaos and tragedy was heroes,” he said. “First responders, the community and their efforts to triage victims together was a great thing.”
Did there ever happen a shooting?
Thompson explained that while a police officer tried to shoot at the SUV, he was unable to do so due to the large crowd. Gunfire didn’t injure anyone. According to Thompson, police do not believe that shots were fired from an SUV. The officer who fired the shots was on administrative leave pending an investigation per department policy, Thompson said.
The victims: The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are also among those who were killed.
Thompson identified the deceased victims as Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Among the victims of the crash were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and a team member from Citizen Bank who was walking with a parade float.
Sorenson was a veteran 19-year-old of The Dancing Grannies. These were a group made up of grandmothers aged 50 to 70 who meet once per week to work on routines and prepare for parades.
It was everything she loved. David Sorenson her husband for 56 years said, “Everything.” The instructing was a favorite pastime of hers. She enjoyed the dance and camaraderie with the other women. She loved to dance.”
Ginny Sorenson, a registered nurse worked as a part-time medical record clerk. In Muskego, Ginny Sorenson cared about animals. She had two horses, chickens and dogs. She used the extra money for the animals and treats for her grandchildren, her daughter Heather Sorenson said. Grannies for Sorensons were a family activity.
Beth Krohn, an ex-member of the Grannies group, said “The Grannies can be a very tight unit.” We used to call the group a sisterhood.
Hospitalizations have seen at least 18 children.
Area hospitals are still caring for victims Monday. However, it is not clear how many were injured or died.
Those injured suffered serious head injuries, broken bones and scrapes on their faces, officials said; six people were operated on Sunday night and two more were in surgery on Monday.
The six critically ill children were joined by three other severely ill children.
Aurora Medical Center – Summit, Waukesha county’s hospital, said it was taking care of 13 people early Monday. Of those 13, three people were in critical condition, four were in serious condition and six were in fair condition, according to a statement released by the hospital, which is about 15 miles away from the scene.
“We are praying for all those impacted, their families and our first responders,” the statement said.
Staff at Children’s Wisconsin said the hospital helped treat a total of 18 kids who were injured at the parade.
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 were covered in pom-poms, shoes, and other items. To find my daughter, I had to travel from one crumpled person to another,” he stated.
He said his wife and two daughters were almost hit.
“My family and friends are safe. But many others are not. One little girl was shaking and was choking. She collapsed and I was there to hold her mother. Please pray.”
White House releases statement of support to victims
On Monday, President Joe Biden addressed the tragedy by saying that “an entire community is trying to deal with the horrendous act of violence.”
Biden stated that his administration is closely monitoring these situations and that his family was praying for the people affected.
Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said that “our team works closely with local officials in order to provide any assistance and support needed.” Tweet. We are here for the whole community and their families.
Green Bay Packers is grateful to the first responders
Sunday’s statement by The Green Bay Packers stated that the Packers were thinking of the Waukesha community as well as those affected by “the terrible and senseless 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. “As a community we all must come together and support each other during these trying times.”
Bacon reported in Arlington, Va. Miller from Carlsbad.
Bill Glauber contributed to this article Christopher Kuhagen. Mary Spicuzza. Molly Beck. Sophie Carson. Evan Casey. Cathy Kozlowicz. Elliot Hughes. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; The Associated Press