A community is in shock and mourning after a man drove his car through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI, on Sunday afternoon.
Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson gave an emotional account of the deadly event on Monday, confirming to reporters that five people have died and 60 are injured—including two children who remain in critical condition.
Those who perished in the incident were identified at the news conference as Virginia Sorenson, 79; Leanna Owens, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Coolidge, 52; Wilhem Hospel, 81; and Jackson Sparks, 8, who succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday. Sorenson was reportedly one of several members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies who were killed or injured at the parade.
Chief Thompson stressed that at this time, there is no evidence to support that this was a terrorist incident. He detailed that the tragedy took place after Waukesha police responded to a domestic disturbance involving the suspect who left the scene by the time authorities arrived.
Shortly after fleeing the scene, the suspect, identified as Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of Southern Milwaukee, arrived at the parade and intentionally drove his SUV through sand barricades and a crowd of people who were celebrating the Waukesha Christmas Parade.
Chief Thompson noted that one police officer discharged his weapon at the suspect to prevent him from entering the parade space, but stopped due to safety concerns for the paradegoers. No one was injured by the officer’s firearm. The officer is on administrative leave, which is standard protocol.
Brooks, who reportedly has a lengthy criminal record and was recently released on bond for intentionally running over his ex-girlfriend, was apprehended a short distance from the scene. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide with additional counts pending an investigation. Authorities are confident he acted alone.
Chief Thompson noted that a power outage due to the high wind on Sunday complicated the emergency response. He thanked first-responders, private citizens, and off-duty emergency responders who stepped in to provide life-saving care in the aftermath.
A vigil for the victims of the parade tragedy took place Monday evening in downtown Waukesha.
The MSR will update this story as more information is available.