NATIONAL NEWS

Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance

Nov 22, 2021, 9:11 AM | Updated: 12:32 pm
Car Drives Through Holiday Parade In Waukesha, Wisconsin...
Police cordon off a crime scene on Nov. 21, 2021, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. According to reports, an SUV drove through pedestrians at a holiday parade, killing at least one and injuring 20 more. (Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jim Vondruska/Getty Images)

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — The man suspected of plowing his SUV into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring 48, had been in a domestic disturbance just minutes before, Waukesha’s police chief says.

Police Chief Dan Thompson says there is no evidence the crash on Sunday was a terrorist attack.

He says police are drawing up five charges of intentional homicide against Darrell Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee.

Thompson identified those killed as four women ages 52 to 79 and an 81-year-old man. Members of the “Dancing Grannies” club were among those killed, as was an employee of Citizens Bank.

According to the chief, police were not pursuing the suspect when he entered the parade route, but an officer did fire a shot to try to stop him but ceased firing because of the danger to others. The driver was not injured.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — Investigators are looking into whether the SUV driver who plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40, was fleeing a crime, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.

The joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms gave way in an instant Sunday to screams and the sight of crumpled bodies as the SUV sped through barricades and struck dancers, musicians and others. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were among those killed.

“It looked like dummies being thrown in the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took second to register, like, ‘Is that just we really just saw?’ And then you looked in the road and there were just people laying in road.”

At least nine patients — most of them children — were listed in critical condition Monday at two hospitals, and seven others were reported in serious condition.

One person was taken into custody after a Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the vehicle, authorities said.

Two law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized the discuss the matter publicly, identified the person as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks.

Investigators were questioning him about an earlier crime Sunday, which one of the officials described as an argument involving a knife. The official cautioned the investigation was still in the early stages.

Online court records showed that a person named Darrell Brooks Jr., with a birthdate making him 39, has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case, filed Nov. 5, he is charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery. Records show $1,000 cash bond was posted on Friday.

In the other case, filed in July 2020, Brooks is charged with reckless endangering and illegal possession of a firearm.

The Milwaukee County district’s attorney office emailed reporters copies of the criminal complaints in both of those cases. In the more recent one, a woman told police that Brooks deliberately ran her over with his vehicle in a gas station parking lot after a fight. She was hospitalized for her injuries.

The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether the Brooks in custody was the same one named in the two complaints.

The horror was recorded by the city’s livestream and onlookers’ cellphones. One video shows the moment the SUV broke through the barricades and includes the apparent sound of several gunshots.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said he did not know if the driver was hit by the officer’s bullets.

“It was like a war scene walking through there,” said Ken Walter, who had been riding in the parade in a hot air balloon basket along with his wife and youngest son. “There were these piles of blankets with cops standing over them that you just knew were bodies.”

Walter said he saw a red SUV careen into view and watched it hit a member of his real estate-agency parade contingent, then barrel straight into members of the Waukesha South High School marching band.

The SUV continued down the parade route. Behind it, people were screaming, running, searching for family and friends and unsure whether they were still in danger, he recalled.

“It was like everything went into slow motion, and I couldn’t hear anything,” Walter said.

Schneiter said after sheltering in a store, she emerged to see bodies in the street, along with strollers, chairs, candy, random shoes. “Just stuff everywhere,” she said. “You can’t believe that really happened. It felt like we were in a movie or something. It just felt crazy.”

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Facebook page that its members were “doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”

“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed … joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue … held us together,” the organization said.

A Roman Catholic priest, parishioners and Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren were among those injured, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said.

Eighteen children ages 3 to 16 were brought to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Drendel, medical director of the emergency department. They suffered injuries ranging from scrapes on their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries, she said. Six were listed in critical condition.

“This is unique and truly demonstrates the devastating effects of this on our community,” said Dr. Michael Meyer, head of the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit.

At the White House, President Joe Biden said that “we don’t have all the facts and details yet” but that his administration was closely monitoring the situation.

The Waukesha school district canceled classes Monday and said extra counselors would be on hand for students and staff. The parade’s lineup included cheer, dance and band entries associated with district 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 59th, had the theme of “comfort and joy.”

Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and 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 the wounding of a third during unrest in that city in August 2020.

___

This story has been corrected to show that online court records indicate a Darrell Brooks Jr. faces charges in another case that include second-degree recklessly endangering safety and that bail in a previous case was $1,000, not $500.

___

Bauer reported from Madison, Wis., and Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Doug Glass in Minneapolis, Kathleen Foody in Chicago and Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, contributed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Los Angeles police are asking for the public's assistance in identifying a suspect who is seen on s...
Natasha Chen and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Police arrest suspect in an unprovoked assault of an Asian man in Los Angeles

Los Angeles police have arrested a suspect in the assault of an Asian man last week, in an attack caught on surveillance video, police said.
21 hours ago
Hundreds of protesters marched in Provo for abortion rights....
KEVIN McGILL, AMY FORLITI and GEOFF MULVIHILL Associated Press

Supreme Court’s abortion ruling sets off new court fights

Judges have temporarily blocked abortion bans in Louisiana and Utah, while a federal court in South Carolina said a law sharply restricting the procedure would take effect there immediately.
21 hours ago
FILE: Rudy Giuliani (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)...
KAREN MATTHEWS Associated Press

Heckler charged with assault after clapping Rudy Giuliani on the back

A heckler who clapped former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the back at a campaign event has been arrested on an assault charge.
21 hours ago
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the American Freedom Tour at the Austin Convention...
ERIC TUCKER Associated Press

Lawyer who advised Trump says federal agents seized phone

A lawyer who aided former President Donald Trump’s efforts in the 2020 election says that federal agents have seized his cell phone.
21 hours ago
Jennifer Crumbley and her husband James Crumbley, parents of the alleged teen Oxford High School sh...
COREY WILLIAMS, Associated Press

School shooting suspect may testify at parents’ trial

Lawyers representing the parents of a Michigan teenager charged in a shooting at Oxford High School that left four of his fellow students dead say they plan to call him to testify at the couple’s trial.
21 hours ago
The superyacht Amadea that American authorities say is owned by a Russian oligarch previously sanct...
Associated Press

Russian superyacht seized by US arrives in San Diego Bay

A $325 million superyacht seized by the United States from a sanctioned Russian oligarch has arrived in San Diego Bay.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Police: Parade-crash suspect was in a domestic disturbance