UPDATE (11/23): A sixth person, a child, has died, according to prosecutors, Associated Press reports.
At least five are dead after an SUV drove through a crowd gathered for the 58th annual Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a suburb outside of Milwaukee, Sunday, Nov. 21.
On Twitter late Sunday, city officials issued a statement with the confirmed death toll so far, adding that over 40 people were injured. “However, these numbers may change as we collect additional information,” the statement added. At a press conference Monday, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said 48 people were injured, two of whom are children and are in critical condition.
Thompson also confirmed authorities had taken a suspect into custody, identifying him as Darrell Brooks, a 39-year-old from Milwaukee. Thompson said that Brooks had been involved in a “domestic disturbance” just before he drove his SUV into the crowd. Authorities believe Brooks “acted alone,” with Thompson saying, “There is no evidence that this was a terrorist incident.”
Brooks is currently facing five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, with Thompson saying more charges could come later “based on the investigation.”
Per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the incident took place around 4:39 p.m., when an individual in a red SUV plowed through parade barriers, hitting over 20 people. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson claimed one officer fired his weapon at the suspect vehicle to try to stop it; Thompson added, “No bystanders were injured as a result of the weapon discharge.”
As previously reported by the Journal Sentinel and The Associated Press, Brooks reportedly has an open court case tied to domestic violence and has been charged three times over the past couple years with recklessly endangering the safety of others (the alleged domestic abuse incident was the most recent, taking place Nov. 5).
“Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said (per The New York Times). “I’m deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said, “Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act. I’m grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information.”
Details about the victims were still emerging. Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital, said it had admitted 15 people, although did not offer any information about their condition. Video appeared to show the SUV striking one group marching in the parade, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies; on Facebook, the group said, “Members of the group and volunteers were impacted and we are waiting for word on their condition.” The Catholic Community of Waukesha also confirmed that some parishioners were hospitalized with injuries, while the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said a Catholic priest and “multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children” were also injured.