What do we know and don’t know about the Wisconsin parade attack?
Waukesha, Wis. — Five people were killed, and at least 48 others injured, after the driver of an SUV plowed through musicians, dancers and spectators during a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee on Sunday.
Here’s what is known about the tragedy in Waukesha, Wis., and what is still unclear.
Police say that the criminal is in custody.
Waukesha police believe Darrell E. Brooks, 39, drove a maroon Ford Escape through the Christmas parade. The city’s police chief, Daniel Thompson, said Mr Brooks, who has a long record of arrests, was arrested near the parade route and is believed to have acted alone.
Police referred five counts of first-degree intentional murder to prosecutors.
The motive of the attack is not clear.
Chief Thompson said Mr Brooks intentionally hit people with his car after fleeing a domestic dispute involving a knife at a nearby house. Police officers were answering the house, though not following Mr Brooks, when he entered the parade route, officials said.
Officers did not say whether they believed Mr Brooks was trying to harm people while he was walking through the parade or whether his goal was to evade police. Chief Thompson said there was no indication that Mr Brooks knew anyone who marched in the parade, nor was there any indication that the incident was an act of terrorism.
Children and old people are also among those killed.
The five people who died in the attack were adults over the age of 50, including three members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a group of women whose fanfare routine has long been a staple of local holiday parades.
At least 18 children, who turned out in large numbers to watch and march in the parade, included 10 of those hospitalized in intensive care.
The accused was recently released from jail.
Mr Brooks was repeatedly arrested in Wisconsin since the 1990s, charged with battery and various points of domestic abuse, and resisting police. This month, prosecutors in Milwaukee said, he intentionally ran over a woman he knew with a maroon Ford Escape. Milwaukee County prosecutors said they made a mistake in recommending a $1,000 cash bail in that case.
The attack married a beloved holiday tradition.
Mayor Sean Reilly described the march down Main Street as “a Norman Rockwell type of Christmas parade”, which has been a cherished event in Waukesha for decades, with high school bands and dance troupes and local politicians all roaming the city. Huh. Residents were especially excited for this year’s visit after the parade was closed in 2020 due to COVID-19. More than 60 entries signed up for the parade, from the fire department to the Waukesha Old Car Club to Santa Claus.
“That parade turned out to be a nightmare,” Mr Reilly said on Monday. “In the midst of the celebration that should have taken place, lives have been lost.”
It is unknown why Mr Brooks was in Waukesha.
Chief Thompson said Mr Brooks was involved in a domestic dispute shortly before the parade went through. But police did not answer questions about where that brawl took place, or why they believe Mr Brooks came to Waukesha in the first place.
In court records, Mr. Brooks usually listed addresses in Milwaukee, about 20 miles east of Waukesha. More information is expected to be released on Tuesday afternoon, when Mr Brooks is expected to make his initial appearance in court.
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