Five dead, 48 injured in holiday parade tragedy

Festivities in Waukesha, Wisconsin turn deadly after man drives an SUV into a parade


Jim Vondruska / Getty Images / TNS

Debris litters the street at a crime scene on Nov. 21 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. According to reports, an SUV drove through pedestrians at a holiday parade, killing at least one and injuring 20 more.

Vanessa Moreno, Staff Writer

WAUKESHA, WIS. — On Nov. 21, an annual holiday celebration turned deadly when a man drove his SUV through a parade, killing five and injuring more than forty. 

Sunday evening, Darrell E. Brooks drove his SUV through a barricade and into the crowd. Two people were immediately hit and others desperately ran away and called for their children. 

A police officer chased the car and opened fire in an attempt to stop it. No bystanders were injured by the shots and Brooks didn’t fire back.

Brooks acted alone and officials believe this was not an act of terrorism. The motive behind Brooks’ actions remains unknown but he has a lengthy criminal record

Weeks earlier, Brooks was detained for running over a woman with a car after domestic disputes. However, he was released on a $1,000 bail, which officials now see as “inappropriately low.” 

According to Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson, before driving into the crowd Brooks was involved in a “domestic disturbance.” His actions at the parade were not caused by a police chase, Thompson mentioned. 

Brooks was promptly arrested, unharmed, and police recommended he faces a minimum of five first-degree intentional homicide charges. 

LeAnna Owen, Tamara Durand, Jane Kulich, Wilhem Gospel, and Virginia Sorenson, ages ranging from 52 to 81 were killed in the fatal incident. Three of the four women were part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies that were performing in the parade. Gospel was the husband of one of the Grannies and a volunteer with the group. 

An additional 48 people were injured, including children from the Waukesha Catholic School that were performing.

Eighteen children, ages three to 16 were taken to Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital. According to Amy Drendel, Director of the Emergency Department, their injuries range from facial abrasions, broken bones, and serious head injuries.

Thirteen of the injured are at the Aurora Medical Center Summit, three in critical condition and four in serious condition. Seven more went to Froedtert Hospital, a level one trauma center reserved for the most critically ill. No additional deaths have been reported. 

President Joe Biden and White House officials have been briefed on the event. The White House and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have also reached out to Wisconsin state and local officials. 

On Monday, Waukesha schools were closed and when they reopen extra counseling will be available for students. Additionally, Governor Tony Evers ordered flags to be flown at half-mast, a symbol of mourning. 

Brooks is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 4 p.m. where Wisconsin law will determine the charges and counts he will face.