'Parade became a nightmare': 5 dead, 48 injured after SUV barrels through Waukesha Christmas Parade
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The annual Waukesha Christmas Parade turned deadly Sunday, Nov. 21, after an SUV barreled through the marchers and crowd.
"Waukesha has held what could be described as a Norman Rockwell Christmas parade for almost six decades. Last night, our wonderful Waukesha parade became the scene of a horrific tragedy. Last night, that parade became a nightmare," said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly during a news conference Monday.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson identified the five people who died in the incident. In order of age, they are Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; LeAnna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Thompson said the incident left 48 people injured.
"What I saw out of chaos and tragedy was heroes -- first responders in the community coming together and working together," the chief said.
Children's Wisconsin provided an update to reporters Monday morning saying they treated 18 children between the ages of 3 and 16.
Thompson got choked up as he and his colleagues described the horrific scene.
"Carnage," said Fire Chief Steve Howard. "Likened it to a war zone. There were adults, children that were injured."
Police took the driver, who they identified as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, into custody nearby. They are referring five counts of first degree intentional homicide.
"We actually had a squad and barricades up, and he drove right through the barricades and the officers. When the officers tried to engage and stop the threat, he still continued through the crowd," Thompson said.
Officers said Brooks was involved in a domestic disturbance somewhere else before he drove through the parade route. There was an initial complaint of a knife being involved, but the suspect left that scene before police were able to respond.
Thompson said one officer fired shots at the suspect, but the suspect was not injured. Neither was anyone else. That officer is now on administrative leave.
CBS 58's Kim Shine was along the parade route Monday morning. Watch her Facebook Live report below:
It happened on Main St. The parade route started at Barstow and Main St. and went to Wisconsin and Main St.
Many people caught the horrific incident on camera as they filmed the parade on their phones. Some showing the car narrowly missing children.
Main Street remained closed Monday morning.
"Many people witnessed traumatic events this evening," Waukesha police said in a statement. "If you need to talk with someone, please call 211. The scene is still fluid, and the investigation is ongoing. The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured. We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers."
Waukesha County Community Foundation and United Way have joined together to create the “United for Waukesha Community Fund.” This fund will support the needs of the families impacted by tragic incident at the Christmas Parade. https://t.co/QRhntGV1sY#Waukesha— cityofwaukesha (@CityofWaukesha) November 22, 2021
"Oh my goodness, this was just senseless. It was tragic and it was just so unnecessary," said Waukesha County Community Foundation President Shelli Marquardt.
"It's just tragic. It is just so sad that there's so many people who had to experience that," said Amy Lindner, president/CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
Waukesha schools will be closed Monday, Nov. 22 and Tuesday, Nov. 23. Carroll University classes are canceled for the week so faculty and students can heal from the tragedy.
I am deeply saddened by what occurred today in Waukesha. My thoughts and prayers are with those who were affected by this tragedy. To allow our campus community to heal, classes are canceled this week. Please take special care and enjoy the treasured time with your families. ??— Cindy Gnadinger (@Pio_Prez) November 22, 2021
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