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Police chief: no evidence that the suspect in the parade crash knew anyone on the road

Police said they had five counts of intentional manslaughter against Brooks.

He has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two cases pending against him at the time of the parade disaster – including one in which he was accused of deliberately hitting a woman with his vehicle.

On Sunday, a cheerful scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pom poms gave way in an instant to screams and the sight of crumpled bodies as the SUV drove through barricades and punched dancers, musicians and others in the community of 72,000.

The dead were identified as four women aged 52 to 79 and one man aged 81. Members of a Dancing Grannies club were among those killed, as was a bank employee.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a ‘Norman Rockwell type’ event that ‘turned into a nightmare’.

“It looked like models thrown in the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took a second to register, like, ‘Is this really what we just saw? And then you looked down the road and there were only people lying on the road.

At least nine patients, mostly children, have been listed in critical condition at two hospitals, and seven others have been reported in serious condition.

The chief said that although police did not pursue Brooks before he entered the parade route, an officer fired a shot in an attempt to stop him but stopped firing due to the danger for the others. Brooks was not injured.

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

In this case, a woman told police that Brooks had deliberately run over her with her vehicle in the parking lot of a gas station after a scuffle. She was hospitalized for her injuries.

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

His lawyer in these cases, Joseph Domask, said he was not representing him during the parade crash.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors’ $ 1,000 bail recommendation for Brooks was “inappropriate” given the charges. The prosecutor’s office said it was investigating the case.

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 “.

Brooks is an aspiring rapper. On a YouTube page, a video that has since been deleted showed him banging in front of a red Ford SUV resembling the one in the parade. The rapper uses the name MathBoi Fly on his Twitter and other social media accounts.

The horror of the crash was recorded by live streaming from the city and spectators’ cell phones. Video shows the moment the SUV passed the barricades and includes the apparent sound of gunfire.

“It was like a war scene walking around there,” said Ken Walter, who had participated in the parade in a hot air balloon basket towed on a trailer with his wife and youngest son. “There were these piles of blankets with cops standing above them that you just knew were bodies.”

Walter said he saw a red SUV appear and saw it hit a member of his estate parade contingent, then run straight into members of the Waukesha South High School Marching Band.

The SUV continued on the parade route. Behind, people were screaming, running, looking for their family and friends and not sure if they were still in danger, he recalls.

Schneiter said that after taking refuge in a store, she went out to see bodies on the street, along with strollers, chairs, candy and shoes.

Police identified those killed as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52 years old; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on their Facebook page that their members “did what they loved, performed in front of a crowd at a parade, put smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. “.

Eighteen children aged 3 to 16 were brought to Wisconsin Children’s Hospital, including three siblings, said Dr Amy Drendel, medical director of the emergency department.

They suffered injuries ranging from scratches on the face to broken bones and serious head injuries, she said. Six were listed in critical condition.

The Waukesha School District canceled classes Monday and Tuesday and said additional counselors would be available for students and staff. The parade’s programming included cheer, dance and marching band entries associated with schools in the district.

The parade, held annually on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade was the 59th.

Waukesha is about 90 miles from Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday of all charges in the shooting deaths of two men and the injury of a third during the unrest in 2020.

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