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US: 'Mama, are you OK?' In Waukesha, minutes of terror recounted

More than 20 injured after car drives into Christmas parade in Wisconsin: Police

  More than 20 injured after car drives into Christmas parade in Wisconsin: Police More than 20 were injured when an SUV sped into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday, police said. Your browser does not support this video At 4:39 p.m. local time, a red SUV drove into the town's Christmas parade, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said at a press conference Sunday evening. © City of Waukesha People watch a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisc., on Nov. 21, 2021, shortly before an incident where a car drove into the parade, injuring more than 20, according to police.

Hours before it started, they were already there — people sitting on lawn chairs or wrapped in blankets, awaiting an event the city's mayor described as straight out of Norman Rockwell. The Waukesha Christmas Parade, a tradition in its Milwaukee suburb for six decades, was to be particularly special this time around after its pandemic-related cancellation last year.

Police stand near toppled chairs lining W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis.,  after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP) © Provided by Associated Press Police stand near toppled chairs lining W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP) This undated image from video provided by CBS 58 Milwaukee shows the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a marching, dancing holiday fixture in Wisconsin for nearly 40 years was hit by tragedy as they marched on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 during the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wis. (CBS 58 Milwaukee via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This undated image from video provided by CBS 58 Milwaukee shows the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies. The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a marching, dancing holiday fixture in Wisconsin for nearly 40 years was hit by tragedy as they marched on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021 during the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wis. (CBS 58 Milwaukee via AP)

Stepping off a few blocks to the east, parade participants were in the holiday spirit, too. Members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a crowd favorite on the Wisconsin parade circuit, donned white fur hats and waved white pompoms as they danced down Main Street to “Jingle Bell Rock.” Realtors and bankers handed out candy, and the percussion section of a high school band wore Santa hats as they banged drums and clanged cymbals.

Joy turns to horror as SUV speeds into Christmas parade

  Joy turns to horror as SUV speeds into Christmas parade WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms turned deadly in an instant, as an SUV sped through a barricade and into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee while spectators watched in horror. One video showed a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a group of young dancers was struck Sunday. A father talked of going “from one crumpled body to the other” in search of his daughter. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” club were among those hit. © Provided by Associated Press A police officer uses a flashlight while looking for evidence in downtown Waukesha, Wis.

In this image taken from video an SUV speeds past a young girl and others attending a Christmas parade and continues to drive through the parade, injuring multiple people, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Waukesha, Wis.  (Jesus Ochoa via AP) © Provided by Associated Press In this image taken from video an SUV speeds past a young girl and others attending a Christmas parade and continues to drive through the parade, injuring multiple people, Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Waukesha, Wis. (Jesus Ochoa via AP)

As they reveled, a red SUV was also heading down Main Street behind them, moving at a pace far faster than the parade.

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The SUV's driver, police say, had just left the scene of a domestic disturbance that involved a knife. A couple blocks to the east of where the parade started, police say, he drove past a police squad car and barricade and onto the parade route.

For a short time, the driver sped alongside the marchers in a mostly empty parking lane, narrowly missing people both in the parade and along the street, according to multiple videos and witness accounts. Some on the route wondered aloud what was happening. And as police — first an officer on foot, then cars with lights and sirens — followed in pursuit, their alarm grew.

What we know about what happened at the Wisconsin Christmas parade

  What we know about what happened at the Wisconsin Christmas parade The celebratory sounds of a Wisconsin Christmas parade were interrupted by terrified screams Sunday after a vehicle plowed into participants and spectators gathered for the event in Waukesha, a city about 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee. © Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/AP Police investigate at the scene of a crash involving multiple people and injuries at a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wis., on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP) At least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured in the chaos, city officials said.

This Nov. 16, 2021, photo provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks Jr. Brooks, the SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, killing and injuring multiple people, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha's police chief said Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said. (Waukesha County Sheriff Office via AP) © Provided by Associated Press This Nov. 16, 2021, photo provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks Jr. Brooks, the SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, killing and injuring multiple people, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha's police chief said Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said. (Waukesha County Sheriff Office via AP)

The SUV approached the core of downtown, where sidewalks are wider, tree planters jut into parts of the road and the crowd was more dense. There the vehicle’s path became more erratic — and deadly.

The parade was noisy, and most of the people in it had their backs to the vehicle. So they had no warning before the driver started hitting people, sending bodies flying or crumpling while others fled or rushed to help.

Wisconsin Christmas parade live updates: 81-year-old, 79-year-old among the 5 killed

  Wisconsin Christmas parade live updates: 81-year-old, 79-year-old among the 5 killed Five people were killed and more than 40 others injured when a car plowed into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin.The suspect, 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, is in custody, authorities said.

Later, well after the chaos had calmed, authorities said six people were killed and over 60 were injured. How they fared depended on where each person or group was positioned in the parade as the SUV barreled forward.

A broken children's stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP) © Provided by Associated Press A broken children's stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Four of the dead were with the Dancing Grannies — three dancers and a volunteer helper. A woman who worked for Citizens Bank and was walking with co-workers in the group just behind the grandmothers also died Sunday, while an 8-year-old boy died Tuesday from his injuries.

Also among the injured: members of a school marching band, a priest, youth baseball players and young girls in a dance troupe.

Before the SUV hit them, it raced past Margie Dougherty and her friends from the Wisconsin Diamond Dancers a few positions back. One moment they were dancing to the Christmas song “Feliz Navidad.”

And then, the joyous, mingled bedlam of the parade — the drums of different bands, the cheers of the crowd, the recorded music for various dance groups — seemed to just stop. The Diamond Dancers, most of them retired women, stood in the street, confused.

'Glue me back together': Online pleas to aid parade victims

  'Glue me back together': Online pleas to aid parade victims MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Friends and families of the roughly 50 people, including many children, hit by an SUV that sped through a Christmas parade in a suburban Milwaukee downtown say they suffered life-threatening injuries, with some clinging to life. A young girl who is a member of a dance troupe struck by the SUV, a moment captured on cellphone video, woke up Monday and told doctors, “just glue me back together,” according to her GoFundMe fundraising page organized by a family friend.“No child or parent should have to endure this amount pain and suffering," the girl's mother, Amber Konhke, posted Tuesday afternoon.

A small child takes part in a candle light vigil in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade killing multiple people and injuring dozens. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) © Provided by Associated Press A small child takes part in a candle light vigil in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade killing multiple people and injuring dozens. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

“All of a sudden," Dougherty said, “there wasn’t any music."

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In spot No. 49 of the parade, just in front of the Diamond Dancers and a few spots behind the Dancing Grannies, was the RE/MAX Service First parade contingent. Among them: Ken Walter, his wife and their youngest son.

It was at least the 20th time that Walter, 58, a Waukesha native, had participated in the Christmas event. Walter was inside a hot air balloon basket on the back of a RE/MAX van. Occasionally fire would shoot up from the basket and into the sky as if to fuel a massive — but nonexistent — balloon, drawing onlookers' cheers. The arrangement allowed Walter to look backward, behind him, as his group reached the heart of downtown.

That stretch of the parade route is typically crowded with people, Walter says. Participants are closer to the sidewalks, which are wider than the other stretch of Main Street, so people and vehicles are forced to move more slowly.

“I always tell my crew, whoever’s driving, to be careful because everybody’s really close,” Walter said. “There’s not much room between our vehicle and the crowd.”

Waukesha Tragedy: Three More Children Are Going Home for Thanksgiving After Being Hospitalized

  Waukesha Tragedy: Three More Children Are Going Home for Thanksgiving After Being Hospitalized The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin released an update Wednesday afternoon regarding the status of their juvenile patients, with three of them able to go home for the holidayThe Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is sharing some much-needed good news in the wake of the tragedy in Waukesha on Sunday.

From his vantage point, Walter watched a red SUV careen into view. It hit a member of the real estate group walking behind the van where his family was riding. “You just knew they were going to hit people not expecting it,” Walter said.

The SUV kept going, narrowly missing the van and a golf cart in front of it. Then, Walter said, it drove straight into members of the Waukesha South High School Marching Band.

On video shot from above, the vehicle is seen plowing into musicians in their Santa hats. It doesn’t appear to slow, even as it leaves bodies in its wake.

Then the SUV drove into a group of youth baseball players and adults as they walked with their club, the Waukesha Blazers. Among those hit were 8-year-old Jackson Sparks and his brother Tucker, 12, who were one of three sets of siblings hospitalized after being struck. Jackson died two days later.

“It’s a parade, so people were laughing and cheering," Walter said. When they heard screaming, he said, they didn't immediately know something was wrong.

Behind the speeding vehicle, though, people yelled. They ran. They searched for family and friends. Amid it all, they were unsure: Were they still in danger? Was there more to come?

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

He hurried his 11-year-old son and a few other children from the real estate group inside a nearby business, frightened by talk in the crowd that someone in the car had also fired a gun. Then he ran back outside to find his wife, Kay, who was trying to treat people hurt when the car hit them. A former intensive care unit nurse and a nurse practitioner, she wanted to do something to help.

6th Intentional Homicide Charge Added For Driver Who Crashed Into Wisconsin Christmas Parade

  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.

“There were these piles of blankets with cops standing over them that you just knew were bodies," Walter said. “(Y)ou see this vehicle going down the road like they’re going over a bumpy road. And you know they’re driving over people. We just watch as it continued up to the other floats in front of us, and we didn’t know how far it went.”

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On the sidewalk a block ahead of Walter and his group, Nicole Schneiter watched the parade with her children and grandchildren. They had arrived two hours early to set up lawn chairs at their favorite spot in front of Burlap & Lace Marketplace, halfway along the parade route.

As the Xtreme Dance team, a troupe of girls dressed in black and shaking white pompoms, passed by, Schneiter said to her 6-year-old granddaughter: You could do that someday.

Seconds later, she said, “I just seen a car flying through and just bodies. It looked like dummies being thrown in the air.”

“It took a second to register, like, ‘Is that what we really just saw?’ And then you looked in the road and there were just people laying in the road.”

People began shouting: “Get in the store! Get in the store!” Schneiter grabbed her 9-year-old son and helped her older children get two grandchildren, who’d been sitting in a wagon, into the store. Someone ushered them into a back room. One of her daughters cradled her 6-month-old.

“There was a lady in there freaking out because she was missing a kid. There was another man in there covered in blood that wasn’t his," Schneiter said. "I felt like we were in a movie.”

Schneiter began receiving frantic messages from her 14-year-old daughter, with a friend’s family on another part of the route. “Mama, are you OK?” her daughter texted. But reception was poor, and Schneiter was unable to reply. Later, her daughter told her she saw a little boy next to her get run over.

As the SUV continued its lethal path, it reached the group from Citizens Bank, most of whom walked alongside a parade float dressed in red ponchos and handing out candy to spectators. Authorities said Jane Kulich, 52, was among those killed. According to local news reports, Kulich worked for a local branch of the bank, which said in a statement that an employee — one it didn't name — was “walking with our parade float” when she was struck and died.

Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks told judge he couldn't pay child support because he ‘was getting incarcerated'

  Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks told judge he couldn't pay child support because he ‘was getting incarcerated' Waukesha Christmas parade suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. divulged details of his life, criticized the mother of one of his children and implied that he was unable to pay child support because he kept “getting incarcerated” in a letter sent to a Wisconsin judge in 2011 pertaining to one of the paternity cases, Fox News has learned. Brooks, 39, sent two letters to court officials over the course of two years in connection with the child support case for one of his children. In the first letter, he asked for one "more shot" and complained that he was being treated unfairly.

The next victims were with the group of grandmas just ahead. Dead were Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. The three women were members of the Grannies, and Hospel reportedly helped the troupe with their shows.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies had posted on their Facebook page earlier that day, excited to be kicking off holiday parades.

“Waukesha here we come!!!” the post read. On Monday, in the aftermath, they posted again, saying the group had been “doing what they loved" by putting smiles on people's faces and “filling them with joy and happiness.”

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When those holed up in the store emerged, they found a street filled with the chaotic aftermath — strollers, chairs, candy, random shoes. And bodies.

Yet it remains unclear exactly how the tragedy actually came to an end.

Police have released few details. They do say that an officer tried to stop the driver, Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, of Milwaukee, by banging on the vehicle as Brooks was driving onto the parade route, and another officer later fired three shots and hit the SUV in an effort to stop the destruction. They also say Brooks was taken into custody shortly after the SUV left the parade route near Veterans Park, a grassy area at the end of Main Street where the road takes a sharp left.

Brooks, who was uninjured, has a history with the law, police say, including a recent case in which he was accused of deliberately running down a woman with his vehicle. Police Chief Dan Thompson said he acted alone, and authorities say there is no evidence he knew anyone in the parade or that his actions were any kind of terrorist attack.

Thompson also said police didn't have time to respond to the Sunday afternoon domestic disturbance call before Brooks left that location and drove onto the parade route, ignoring their commands to stop. On Tuesday, he was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide and ordered held on $5 million bond; a sixth homicide charge is expected to be filed for the death of Sparks, a prosecutor said.

Dougherty, the 62-year-old member of the Wisconsin Diamond Dancers, said that before the parade, she and the other dancers had worried aloud about a few potential perils — stepping in a pothole maybe, or slipping on the street’s painted lines.

“It never, even for one second, crossed my mind," she said, “that being in a parade could be tragically dangerous."

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Associated Press reporters Tammy Webber in Fenton, Michigan, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Mike Householder in Waukesha contributed to this story.

Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks told judge he couldn't pay child support because he ‘was getting incarcerated' .
Waukesha Christmas parade suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. divulged details of his life, criticized the mother of one of his children and implied that he was unable to pay child support because he kept “getting incarcerated” in a letter sent to a Wisconsin judge in 2011 pertaining to one of the paternity cases, Fox News has learned. Brooks, 39, sent two letters to court officials over the course of two years in connection with the child support case for one of his children. In the first letter, he asked for one "more shot" and complained that he was being treated unfairly.

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