WAUKESHA, Wisconsin – An 8-year-old boy has died, the sixth death after a man who appeared on a mission to “hit and injure as many people as possible” drove an SUV on a Christmas parade route on Sunday, say authorities.
Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper announced the sixth death in court on Tuesday as five counts of first degree manslaughter were filed against Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, of Milwaukee. Opper said a sixth homicide charge would also be filed.
Police said Brooks was fleeing domestic unrest where a knife was reported when it slammed into dozens of people on the parade route on Sunday night, injuring more than 60 people.
A first degree intentional homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. Other charges are expected to follow.
Opper cited Brooks’ long record of convictions in Wisconsin and other states before seeking $ 5 million bail, a request granted by court commissioner Kevin Costello.
Costello said he was troubled by reports from officers who said Brooks’ actions on the parade appeared intentional.
“The nature of this offense is shocking,” said Costello. “I haven’t seen anything like it in my very long career.”
The written criminal complaint contains a chilling observation from a police officer who watched Brooks go through several options to exit the parade route and increase his speed instead:
“At this point it was clear (…) that this was an intentional act aimed at hitting and injuring as many people as possible,” the complaint said.
A witness told a detective a similar account of the car, the complaint said: “It continued to go zigzag. It was as if the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. The vehicle did not attempt to stop, let alone slow down.
Another witness told police he believed it was “a direct intention to hit so many parade participants,” according to the charges.
The complaint also details several attempts by police to arrest Brooks.
Brooks was released on $ 1,000 bail filed Friday over another pending case that included an allegation he deliberately hit a woman with his car in early November after a scuffle. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said it had launched an internal review of its “inappropriate” bail recommendation in the case.
In court on Tuesday, Brooks bowed his head to the defense table during the hearing. The Associated Press reported that he cried as the charges against him were detailed.
The Waukesha effect:Rising number of armed vehicles driving through crowds wreaks havoc on national security
As investigators search for answers, here’s what we know:
Over a million dollars raised for the victims
Donations to help victims of the fatal Sunday parade crash, some of whom were children, poured in on Tuesday.
Nearly $ 900,000 had been collected Tuesday night in about two dozen pages verified by GoFundMe for victims of the parade. Another community fund had reached over $ 900,000 on Tuesday afternoon.
Some of the victims were still fighting for their lives, according to the campaigns.
One child didn’t know how badly injured she was, but “but managed to say,” Just stick me together, “” family friend Oscar Luna wrote on the GoFundMe page for a girl named Jessalyn. “Only a child could refer to himself as a little doll in this situation.”
Jessalyn lost a kidney, broke her pelvis, and suffered liver and lung damage, Luna said.
Brothers Tucker and Jackson Sparks were among several siblings hospitalized after the crash.
Jackson, 8, later died of his injuries, according to a Tuesday afternoon update on his verified GoFundMe page. The update was confirmed by his baseball club and his family church.
Six children are still in “critical condition” and a total of 13 children are still being treated at Children’s Wisconsin Tuesday night, according to a press release from the hospital.
Relatives mourned the deceased victims. Several of those killed were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies – who have entertained local crowds for decades with their pom poms, sense of humor and moxie.
Virginia Sorenson, 79, is remembered as the heart of the band.
Everyone called her Ginny. She had back pain and hip pain but loved to dance.
“What did she like about it? Everything,” said her husband, 56, David Sorenson. “She loved teaching. She loved dancing and the camaraderie of women. She loved playing.”
Sorenson, a 19-year veteran of the Dancing Grannies, was in the back of the group holding a banner when she was killed.
Home security video appears to show arrest of suspect
A home security video appears to show Brooks being arrested after he approached a resident for help, NBC News reported.
Brooks knocked on the resident’s door on Sunday about 20 minutes after the crash and told the resident he was homeless and was waiting for an Uber.
The resident told NBC News he had hunted and was unaware of what happened during the parade. He let Brooks in, gave him a jacket and a sandwich, and let him use his phone before seeing police cars pass by, NBC reported.
The man asked Brooks to leave and, as he was leaving the house, police arrived and told him to put his hands up, the resident said. Some of this interaction was captured on the home security video.
What we know about the suspect
Thompson provided few details of the domestic unrest that occurred before Brooks walked through the parade, but said there had been a report of a knife and police had not responded to this scene before to get to the parade.
Thompson said Brooks acted alone and there was no indication of terrorism or that Brooks knew anyone in the parade.
The Horror of Wisconsin:Timeline of the SUV driver’s destructive journey along the Waukesha parade route
Brooks was released on $ 1,000 bail two days before the murderous event, which sparked scrutiny and renewed calls to give judges more power to set higher bail bonds.
Brooks was arrested and charged this month after a woman told police he intentionally hit her “with his vehicle” in the parking lot of a gas station after following her there following a fight, according to a criminal complaint.
The $ 1,000 bond recommended by prosecutors and accepted by the court commissioner in the case was called “weakly low” by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office in a statement released Monday.
The bail was not in line with the office’s approach to cases “involving violent crimes, nor with the risk assessment of the accused before release on bail,” the statement said.
Brooks has been charged with crimes 10 times since 1999, including three times in less than two years for recklessly endangering the safety of others. Most recently, Brooks was charged with an incident of domestic violence on November 5, while also being charged with resisting or obstructing an officer.
The community is watching
A cold and windy candlelight vigil on Monday evening included prayers from the clergy reciting for the bereaved as volunteers handed out candles and hot chocolate.
“We walk this street every day, it’s home, and it touches very close to my home,” said Kim Mischalouski, a resident of Waukesha for 30 years. “Tonight was to help me feel better. It’s not there yet, but it’s happening, and I was hoping there would be something like that.”
Contributors: Bill Glauber, Sophie Carson, Sarah Volpenhein, Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press