The suspect in a motorcade accident was in a domestic disorder
Waukesha, Wes. A Waukeesha police chief said Monday that the man suspected of pushing his SUV at a Christmas parade in a Milwaukee suburb, killing at least five people and injuring 48, had left the scene of an internal dispute just minutes ago.
Police Chief Dan Thompson said there was no evidence that Sunday’s incident was a terrorist attack or that suspect Daryl Brooks Jr. knows anyone on the show.
The police chief said police have charged five counts of premeditated murder to Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee.
The exhilarating sight of bands and children dancing Santa Claus hats and waving sacks of balls gave way in a Sunday moment to screaming and the sight of bodies collapsing as the SUV sped through the barricades and crashed into dancers, musicians and more. Among the dead were members of the “Dancing Grannies” club, as well as an employee of Citizens Bank.
Thompson identified the dead as four women, aged 52 to 79, and a man aged 81.
“It was as if the dolls were being thrown into the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took a second to record, like, ‘Is this really what we just saw? “And then I looked at the road and there were just people lying on the road.”
At least nine patients – most of them children – were placed in critical condition on Monday in two hospitals, and another seven in serious condition.
According to the president, the police were not pursuing the suspect when he entered the parade route, but an officer fired a shot to try to stop him but stopped shooting due to the danger to others. The driver was not hurt.
Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case filed on November 5, he was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, bail-jumping and battery. Records show that a $1,000 cash note was posted on Friday.
In the other case, filed in July 2020, Brooks was charged with endangerment and illegal possession of a firearm.
In the most recent, a woman told police that Brooks intentionally ran over her with his car in a gas station parking lot after a fight. She was taken to the hospital for her injuries.
The horror was recorded by live broadcasts in the city and the cell phones of viewers. One of the videos shows the moment the SUV broke through the barriers and includes the clear sound of several gunshots.
“It was like a war scene going in there,” said Ken Walter, who was riding in the parade in a hot air balloon basket with his wife and youngest son. “There were piles of blankets with policemen standing on top of them which I just knew were bodies.”
Walter said he saw a red SUV drive toward the horizon and watched it crash into a member of his real estate agency’s show troupe, then crash right into members of the marching squad at Waukesha South High School.
Four-wheel drive vehicles continued to run on the parade route. He remembers that the people behind it were screaming and running around, looking for family and friends, unsure if they were still in danger.
“It was like everything went into slow motion, and I couldn’t hear anything,” Walter said.
Taking refuge in a store, Schneiter said, she went out to see the bodies in the street, along with random strollers, chairs, candy, and shoes. “Just stuff all over the place,” she said. “You can’t believe this actually happened. It felt like we were in a movie or something. I just went crazy.”
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on their Facebook page that their members were “doing what they love, performing in front of crowds in a procession bringing smiles to faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”
“Those who died were very excited grandmothers. Their eyes shone… the joy of being the grandmother. They were the glue… brought us together,” the organization said.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee said a Catholic priest, parishioners and schoolchildren from Waukesha were among those injured.
Eighteen children between the ages of 3 and 16 were brought to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Dirndell, medical director of the emergency department. She said they had injuries ranging from scrapes to their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries. Six are in critical condition.
“This is unique and really shows the devastating effects this has on our society,” said Dr. Michael Mayer, chief of the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit.
At the White House, President Joe Biden said “we don’t have all the facts and details yet” but his administration is closely monitoring the situation.
Waukesha School District has canceled classes Monday and Tuesday and said additional counselors will be accessible to students and staff. The show’s lineup included glamor, dance and troupe entries associated with the area’s schools.
The parade, held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s event, the 55th, had the theme of “Comfort and Joy”.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from the fatal shooting of two men and wounding a third during unrest in that city in August 2020.
This story has been corrected to show that online court records indicate that Daryl Brooks Jr. is facing charges in another case involving reckless second-degree safety endangerment and that bail in an earlier case was $1,000, not $500.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin, and Balsamu reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Doug Glass in Minneapolis, Kathleen Foddy in Chicago, and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan have contributed.
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