On the 21st of November, 39 year old Darrell E Brooks drove through Waukesha Christmas Parade with a vehicle, killing 5 and injuring 48. Daniel Thompson, police chief of Waukesha, said the suspect was charged with five counts of intentional first-degree homicide.
Whilst there were initial concerns that the incident was terror related, this was proven not to be the case. Brooks acted alone when he ‘intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades’ and into a marching band, groups of ‘Dancing Grannies’ and girls at 4:39 pm local time. Shots were fired by an officer in an attempt to stop the vehicle from crashing into the Parade crowds.
Thompson announced deaths of individuals ranging from ages 52 to 82. 18 children were treated at Children’s Wisconsin located in Milwaukee. These children range from ages three to 16. Dr. Amy Drendel said most of them experienced head and facial injuries, as well as broken bones. Ten children remained in intensive care.
Waukesha eyewitnesses spoke about the incident, including Angelito Tenorio, a candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer. He described the scene, saying ‘people [were] running away […], leaving their belongings behind, looking for their kids, families, friends.’ Thomas Kluka, an annual visitor to the Parade also shared his experience of the incident, saying the SUV was within 2 feet of him when he brought his daughter out of its path. ‘I could’ve touched [it] going by.’ Corey Montiho, a Waukesha school board member, described Brooks as being ‘calm and composed’. ‘There were poms-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere,’ and he ‘saw bodies and kids and dads not breathing.’
President Joe Biden sent his condolences to those affected by the incident. Waukesha gathered to ‘celebrate the season of hope and togetherness and Thanksgiving,’ yet ‘this morning […] five families in Waukesha are facing fresh grief of a life without a loved one.’ Tony Evers, the Government of Wisconsin ordered flags to be at half-mast in respect of the lost ones. Shawn Reilly, Mayor of Waukesha, grieved at the incident and proposed a community fund to set up. Waukesha residents attended a candle-lit vigil on the 22nd of November, paying tribute and remembering the victims.
Brooks has a record of 16 crimes before 1999, including obstructing an officer and bail jumping. Thompson also claimed Brooks was involved in a domestic trauma before the Parade incident.