Waukesha’s death toll rises to 6 as suspect orders $5 million bail

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Waukesha’s death toll rises to 6 as suspect orders $5 million bail

Waukesha, Wis. – The reserve police officer radioed with an alarming report. Two men witnessed a fight, possibly with a knife, outside the Rotary Building in a riverfront park in Waukesha, Wis.

Within seconds, several officers said they would go there. The dispatcher asked them to hurry. But when the first patrol arrived, near the site where kayaks are rented in the less cold months, any fighting that could have been fought was over.

“I’m near the Rotary Building and the Baseball Diamond,” said the officer, his voice calm. “There’s nothing over here.”

About a minute later, panic broke out at the police scanner. The driver of a maroon SUV was charging through the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Main Street, not far from the park, stopping at a circle of marching band members and dancing grannies. He was not stopping.

Waukesha officials charged Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of killing six people and injuring more than 60 others in an attack on a parade Sunday evening. He said he was on the run from a nearby domestic dispute that may have involved a knife – an apparent reference to an earlier incident at the park.

Mr Brooks, who cried at the defense table in his first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional murder and ordered to be held on $5 million cash bail. Prosecutors said they learned of the sixth death of an 8-year-old boy on Tuesday and intended to file another murder charge.

“There are no words to describe the risk this defendant is posing to our community,” Waukesha County District Attorney Susan L. Opper said in court, where she referred to the accounts of detectives who said Mr. In the people seemed to deliberately run.

“Police officers told her to stop,” Ms Opar said. “He risked his own safety to try to step in front of the car to stop him. Everything was done to stop him – and he just kept going down the road, causing death and destruction. ,

Court commissioner Kevin Costello, who presided over the bail hearing, granted prosecutors’ request for $5 million bail.

“This is an extraordinarily serious case, with this gentleman’s extraordinary history of running away, hurting people, not following court orders, not obeying criminal laws, not following his social norms.” to do,” said Mr. Costello.

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A lawyer for Mr Brooks said little in court, but told the court that his client was poor. Mr Brooks, who wore a dark green vest and white face mask, kept his head hanging for most of the hearing.

On Tuesday, as some victims were hospitalized, Waukesha residents were still trying to piece together what had happened in their quiet town over the weekend. With public schools in the Milwaukee suburb closed again on Tuesday, flags were flown at half-staff and buses displayed the message “Wakeshaw Strong.”

Police provided only limited details about the attack, and did not answer questions about whether the domestic incident Mr Brooks accused of escaping was a fight in the park. No similar controversy was discussed in the minutes before the attack on the Waukesha police scanner feed, published online by Broadcastify.

Greg Leggett, who lives about a half-mile from the end of the parade route, said he called police on Sunday evening after a stranger, later identified as Mr Brooks, was on the porch of his next-door neighbor. stood at. Mr Leggett said he had just returned home from the parade, where he and his family saw an older woman flying into the air after being hit by an SUV and landing on the curb in front of him, apparently dead.

“I knew they were looking for someone and I thought it was the parade guy because he was going in that direction,” said Mr Leggett.

When he first approached his neighbor and Mr. Brooks, Mr. Leggett sensed something was amiss. His neighbor, he said, whose doorbell camera recorded footage of their encounter, seemed unaware of what was being searched at the time.

“I didn’t care whether he was a boy or not,” said Mr Leggett, “that it was my responsibility to call.”

Without saying a word, Mr Leggett stood behind his house and turned around the dark corner to dial 911. Mr. Brooks, he said, “just felt strange to me.”

“When I went to the corner,” Mr Leggett continued, “he was looking around to see where I was going.”

To the dispatcher, Mr Leggett recalled saying, “The person you are looking for, I believe, is at my neighbor’s house.”

Within a minute of the 911 call, he said, the police were there. Mr Leggett said he and his friends sat in their car and watched as officers took Mr Brooks into custody.

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“They were there with guns drawn and asking that guy to raise his hand,” Mr Leggett said on Tuesday. “that was fast.”

Mr Brooks, who did not speak in court, was repeatedly arrested over the years in the Milwaukee area, charged with battery and various points of domestic abuse and resisted by police. Prosecutors on Tuesday spent several minutes describing her criminal record from several Wisconsin counties, as well as a sex offense in Nevada, where she has an active warrant for her arrest, and recent arrests in Georgia.

A woman who had children with Mr Brooks nearly two decades ago said in an interview on Tuesday that her anger is easily ignited. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she did not want her or her child to be publicly associated with Mr Brooks, said she knew she had an anger problem, but she never was not disrespectful towards him.

Just a few weeks ago, Milwaukee County prosecutors said Mr Brooks intentionally ran over another woman he knew with a maroon Ford escape.

Prosecutors said they made a mistake in recommending a $1,000 cash bail in that case. Mr Brooks posted that bail, then was held in custody for a few days while awaiting transfer to Waukesha County for a warrant issued on unpaid child support. He was sent to Waukesha prison on November 16 and released later that day after telling a judge that he had missed support payments because he had been jailed in Georgia.

Days after his release, which was a celebratory night, Mr. Brooks was back in Waukesha, returning from a pandemic hiatus with a lovely parade and children lined the streets. Police officers and prosecutors said he was causing maximum damage in the form of a stampede through the parade route.

“It looks like there was either panic or whatever, or a deliberate act for whatever reason,” Mr Costello said. “You don’t do well under pressure.”

Shaila Dewan And Robert Chiarito Contributed to reporting. Kitty Bennett Contributed to research.

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