Police: Wisconsin motorcade crash suspect was in domestic disturbance

The Waukesha police chief said Monday that the SUV driver who stormed a Christmas parade in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin suburb, killing at least five people and injuring 48 others, was leaving the scene of a local dispute just minutes earlier. .

Police Chief Dan Thompson said there was no evidence that Sunday’s bloodshed was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Daryl Brooks Jr., knew anyone on the show. The president said that Brooks acted alone.

Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, had left the home disturbance site before officers arrived, and was not pursued by police at the time of the accident, according to the leader, who did not provide further details about the dispute.

Police said they have brought five counts of premeditated murder against Brooks.

He has been charged with 16 crimes since 1999 and had two pending cases against him at the time of the show’s disaster – including one in which he was accused of deliberately running over a woman with his car.

On Sunday, the exhilarating spectacle of bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving costumes of pompoms gave way in a moment to screams and the sight of collapsing bodies as the SUV sped through barricades and crashed into dancers, musicians and others in the community of 72,000.

The dead were identified as four women, aged between 52 and 79, and a man aged 81. Among the dead were members of the Dancing Grannies club, as well as an employee of a bank.

Mayor Sean Riley described the show as a “Norman Rockwell type” event that “has become a nightmare.”

“It was as if the dolls were being thrown into the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took a second to record, like, ‘Is this really what we just saw? “And then I looked at the road and there were just people lying on the road.”

At least nine patients, most of them children, were registered at two hospitals in critical condition, and another seven in serious condition.

The president said that while Brooks was not pursued by police before he entered the parade route, an officer fired a shot to try to stop him but stopped shooting because of the danger to others. Brooks was not hurt.

Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case filed on November 5, he was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, bail-jumping and battery. Records show that his $1,000 cash bond was posted on Friday.

In this case, a woman told police that Brooks intentionally ran over her with his car in a gas station parking lot after a fight. She was taken to the hospital for her injuries.

In the other case, filed in July 2020, Brooks was charged with endangerment and illegal possession of a firearm.

His attorney in those cases, Joseph Dumask, said he was not representing him in the parade incident.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors’ recommendation of $1,000 bail for Brooks was “inappropriately low,” given the charges. The DA office said it is investigating.

Republican Rebecca Cliffish, a former deputy governor of Wisconsin running for governor in 2022, called the killings “another avoidable tragedy that occurred because a violent professional criminal was allowed to walk free and terrorize our community.”

Brooks is an aspiring rapper. On his YouTube page, a since-removed video showed him singing in front of a red Ford SUV that looked like the one in the show. The rapper uses the MathBoi Fly name on Twitter and other social media accounts.

The horror of the accident was recorded by live broadcasts in the city and the mobile phones of spectators. One of the videos shows the moment the SUV broke through the barriers and includes the clear sound of gunfire.

“It was like a war scene going in there,” said Ken Walter, who was riding in the parade in a hot air balloon basket with his wife and youngest son afterwards. “There were piles of blankets with policemen standing on top of them which I just knew were bodies.”

Walter said he saw a red SUV drive toward the horizon and watched it crash into a member of his real estate agency’s show troupe, then crash right into members of the marching squad at Waukesha South High School.

Four-wheel drive vehicles continued to run on the parade route. He remembers that the people behind it were screaming and running around, looking for family and friends, unsure if they were still in danger.

Schneier said that after she hid in a store, she went out to see the bodies in the street, along with the strollers, chairs, candy and shoes.

Police identified the dead as 79-year-old Virginia Sorenson. Lana Owen, 71 years old; Tamara Durand, 52 years old; Jane Kulich, 52 years old; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

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

Eighteen children between the ages of 3 and 16 were brought to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Dirndell, medical director of the emergency department.

She said they had injuries ranging from scrapes to their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries. Six are in critical condition.

Waukesha School District has canceled classes Monday and Tuesday and said additional counselors will be accessible to students and staff. The show’s lineup included glamor, dance and troupe entries associated with the area’s schools.

The show, which takes place every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade was 59.

Waukesha is 90 kilometers from Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of all charges related to shooting two men and wounding a third during unrest there in 2020.

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