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US: Driver to face homicide charges for deaths at Wisconsin Christmas parade

'Some fatalities,' more than 20 hurt after vehicle plows through parade in Wisconsin

  'Some fatalities,' more than 20 hurt after vehicle plows through parade in Wisconsin 'Some fatalities,' more than 20 hurt after vehicle plows through parade in Wisconsin(Reuters) -At least some people were killed when a sports utility vehicle sped through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, bowling over at least 20 people including several youngsters waving pompoms and a group of "Dancing Grannies".

(Corrects title of Sue Opper in paragraph 6)

Car plows through holiday parade in Wisconsin © Reuters/STRINGER Car plows through holiday parade in Wisconsin

By Brendan O'Brien and Cheney Orr

WAUKESHA, Wis. (Reuters) -The man accused of deliberately driving his car into a crowded Milwaukee-area Christmas parade over the weekend, killing five people and injuring dozens of others, was suspected in an earlier domestic disturbance, police said on Monday.

Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin © Reuters/JORDAN WOYNILKO Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin

The suspect, Darrell Brooks, 39, was arrested near the scene of Sunday's vehicular attack in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and faces five counts of first-degree homicide, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said.

Police: 'Some' killed when SUV hits Christmas parade

  Police: 'Some' killed when SUV hits Christmas parade WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — An SUV driver sped through a police line and into a parade of Christmas marchers on Sunday, hitting more than 20 adults and children in a horrifying scene captured by the city’s livestream and the cellphones of onlookers. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said “some” people had been killed but would not give an exact number. A person was in custody, he said, but he did not give any indication of motive. One video shows aWaukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said “some” people had been killed but would not give an exact number. A person was in custody, he said, but he did not give any indication of motive.

In addition to the five people killed - ranging in age from 52 to 81 - another 48 were injured, including six children who remained hospitalized in critical condition on Monday, authorities said.

Car ploughs through holiday parade in Wisconsin © Reuters/CHENEY ORR Car ploughs through holiday parade in Wisconsin

Among the victims were members of a parade group calling themselves the "Dancing Grannies," according to a statement posted on Facebook on Monday.

Thompson said the motive for the attack was still a mystery but that it was clear the suspect had acted intentionally.

"He drove right through the barricades and the officers," Thompson told a briefing, adding the authorities had ruled out terrorism as a motive. Sue Opper, the Waukesha County district attorney, said the suspect was believed to have acted alone.

SUV driver in parade crash may have been fleeing a crime

  SUV driver in parade crash may have been fleeing a crime 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 turned deadly in an instant on Sunday, giving way to screams and scenes 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. © Provided by Associated Press Police canvass the streets in downtown Waukesha, Wis.

Police were not pursuing Brooks when he plowed into the parade, but one officer fired shots to try to stop the sports utility vehicle, the police chief said.

Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin © Reuters/JORDAN WOYNILKO Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin

"Minutes after the incident occurred, I responded to the scene," Thompson said. "And what I saw out of chaos and tragedy was heroes -- first responders in the community coming together and working together on triaging victims."

Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin © Reuters/JORDAN WOYNILKO Car plows through holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin

The FBI was assisting local police in their investigation.


Video: SUV slams into Wisconsin Christmas parade, causing multiple deaths and over 40 injuries (USA TODAY)

Brooks has a criminal history and was recently released on $1,000 bail, an amount the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office called "inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges" against him. Brooks was charged on Nov. 5 with obstructing an officer, battery, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and felony bail jumping.

Waukesha parade crash suspect's bail raises questions

  Waukesha parade crash suspect's bail raises questions WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — The suspect in a Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee that killed five people was free on $1,000 bail posted just two days before the deadly event, a fact that is leading to a review of what happened and renewed calls for giving judges more power to set higher bails. One pending case against Darrell Brooks Jr. included an allegation that he deliberately hit a woman with his car in early November after a fight. Prosecutors in Milwaukee County on Monday called their bail recommendation “inappropriately low” given the facts of that case and the Sunday crash, and said they would review it.

Around the time of Sunday's carnage, police also had received a complaint of a domestic disturbance involving Brooks and a knife but were unable to respond because they were preoccupied with the parade, Thompson said.

"Was there an initial complaint of a knife being involved? Yes," he said. "Do we know if there actually was one there? We don't."

The chief said investigators had no information suggesting Brooks, a resident of Milwaukee, knew anyone in the parade.

'STILL TOTALLY SHOCKED'

Police identified the five dead as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

On the morning after Sunday's carnage, a pink hat, a lone shoe and candy lay strewn across the main thoroughfare in Waukesha.

Dozens of orange evidence circles were painted on the street and most shops were closed in the city's downtown district. A woman tied a bouquet of flowers to a street post as police officers blocked intersections along the main road.

"It was terrifying," Waukesha resident Brian Hoffman, 33, who was present as the vehicle rammed through parade attendees, recalled as he sat on a stoop near the scene on Monday. "I saw children who were run over. ... I am still totally shocked."

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Video of the incident posted on social media showed a red SUV racing alongside the parade route and then into the procession, appearing to run over more than a dozen people before bystanders ran from sidewalks to help.

The Children's Wisconsin hospital officials said at a briefing they treated 18 children, including six who remained in critical condition and three in serious condition on Monday.

The rest were in fair condition or released. The hospital made no mention of any fatalities.

A message posted on Monday by the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies Facebook page paid tribute to those who lost their lives as "the glue ... (that) held us together."

"Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed.....[with the] joy of being a Grannie," read the message https://www.facebook.com/Milwaukeedancingrannies. "Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time."

Waukesha schools were closed on Monday, and additional counselors were to be made available for students, the school district superintendent said. Waukesha authorities said a fund for the affected families https://wccf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create?funit_id=3559 had been set up.

U.S. President Joe Biden said his administration was monitoring the situation in Waukesha "very closely."

"The entire community is struggling, struggling to cope with these horrific acts of violence," Biden told reporters on Monday.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien and Cheney Orr in Waukesha, Wisconsin; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely and Tyler Clifford in New York; Mark Hosenball, Katharine Jackson and Christopher Gallagher in Washington; and Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Writing by Maria Caspani; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

6th Intentional Homicide Charge Added For Driver Who Crashed Into Wisconsin Christmas Parade .
The sixth charge is for victim Jackson Sparks, an 8-year-old boy who was walking in the parade with his 12-year-old brother Tucker, who was also injured.The sixth charge is for victim Jackson Sparks, an 8-year-old boy who was walking in the parade with his 12-year-old brother Tucker, who was also injured in the crash, The Associated Press reported. If convicted, each charge has a life sentence.

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