Live city video and spectator video captured the chaotic scene as an SUV sped along the parade route and then into the crowd. Authorities said 62 people were injured, many of them children. Several remain in critical condition.
Brooks was released on $ 1,000 bail for a Milwaukee County case earlier in November in which he is accused of intentionally hitting a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they were investigating their bail recommendation in the case, calling it too weak.
A pending case against Brooks included an allegation that he deliberately struck a woman with his car in early November after a fight. Milwaukee County prosecutors on Monday called their bail recommendation “weakly weak” given the facts of that case and Sunday’s crash, and said they would reconsider it.
Julius Kim, defense attorney and former deputy prosecutor, said the bail could easily have been set at more than twice as much.
“He was accused of crushing the mother of his child, and putting it at $ 1,000 seems like that low to me,” Kim said. “It could have been an inexperienced lawyer reviewing cases that day.”
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a family argument that had taken place minutes earlier when he made his way to the parade route.
Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999 and had two cases pending against him at the time of the parade disaster. This included resistance or obstruction of an officer, reckless endangerment, disorderly driving, bail and battery for the Nov. 2 incident.
Legal experts have warned that an extreme case should not be a reason to demand higher bonds that would keep poorer defendants behind bars longer while awaiting trial.
“We don’t want to have a knee-jerk reaction here and say ‘Let’s lock up a lot of people before trial,'” said John Gross, professor of law at the University of Wisconsin law school and also director of its Public Defender Project. .
“I’m sure the district attorney’s office will come back to this question and ask, ‘Are we wrong? “Said Gross, the law school professor. “This is such an extreme incident… could they reasonably expect him to get behind a vehicle and run over people on a parade route? What would have alerted you to the capacity he would have had for this kind of violence? “
Some Republicans were quick to jump on the case as an example of a failing legal system.
Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, former Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin and 2022 gubernatorial candidate, called the murders “yet another preventable tragedy that occurred because a violent career criminal was allowed to walk around freely and terrorize our community “.
And Republican State Representative Cindi Duchow said she was reintroducing a constitutional amendment that would change the bail process in Wisconsin to allow judges to consider a defendant’s danger to the community when setting the bond. Judges are currently only allowed to consider the possibility that the defendants do not show up to a court appearance when bail is fixed.
“He tried to run over his girlfriend with his car – it’s attempted murder,” Duchow said. “If you are a danger to society, you should work hard to get out of it. “
Thompson, the police chief, said there was no evidence the bloodshed on Sunday was a terrorist attack or that Brooks knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chef said.
Brooks had left the site of the domestic unrest before police arrived and was not being pursued by police at the time of the crash, according to the chief, who gave no further details of the dispute.
NBC News posted doorbell camera footage that appeared to capture Brooks’ arrest. It showed Brooks, shivering in a simple T-shirt, knocking on an owner’s door and asking for help calling for a ride. Moments later, the police surrounded the house and shouted, “Put your hands up! Brooks, standing on the porch, raised his hands and said, “Whoa whoa whoa!”
Hundreds of people gathered on Monday evening in a park in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, for a candlelight vigil in honor of those lost and injured. A couple of clergy solemnly read the names of those who died. Volunteers distributed sandwiches, hot chocolate and candles during the vigil, which was attended by interfaith leaders and elected officials.
“We are parents. We are neighbors. We are in pain. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are grateful. We are all in there. We are Waukesha Strong, ”said Amanda Medina Roddy of the Waukesha School District tearfully.
Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a ‘Norman Rockwell type’ event that ‘turned into a nightmare’.