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Child is 6th death in Waukesha parade crash; suspect charged

by The Associated. Press | November 24, 2021 at 12:00 a.m.
A small child takes part in a candle light vigil in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade killing multiple people and injuring dozens. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He rocked back and forth in his seat and cried throughout his court hearing on Tuesday, his attorney's arm on his back, as the charges against him were detailed. His bail was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 14.

"The nature of this offense is shocking," said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.

Additional charges related to the sixth death and the more than 60 people injured will be coming later this week or next, said Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper. The criminal complaint said 62 people were injured, up from the 48 previously announced by police.

Brooks is accused of speeding away from police and entering the Waukesha Christmas parade on Sunday night, refusing to stop even as an officer banged on the hood of his SUV. Another officer fired three shots into the vehicle, but it did not stop.

Five people ranging in age from 52 to 81 were pronounced dead within hours. Jackson Sparks, 8, was the first of many injured children to have died. He was walking in the parade with his 12-year-old brother Tucker, who was injured and is being discharged from the hospital, according to his GoFundMe page.

"This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away," the page's organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote.

The city's livestream video and bystander video captured the chaotic scene when an SUV sped along the parade route and then into the crowd. Several of those injured remain in critical condition.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told police that the vehicle "appeared to be intentionally moving side to side," with no attempt to slow down or stop as it struck multiple people and sent bodies and objects flying.

Brooks ignored several attempts to stop him, according to the criminal complaint.

A detective -- wearing police insignia and a neon orange safety vest -- stepped in front of Brooks' vehicle and pounded on the hood, shouting "Stop," several times but Brooks drove past him, according to the complaint.

A uniformed police officer who saw Brooks' SUV traveling toward the parade route also tried to get his attention, yelling "Stop, stop the vehicle" several times but was ignored, according to the complaint. The officer "observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face," the complaint said.

Brooks braked at one point, but instead of turning away from the parade route, he turned into the crowd and appeared to rapidly accelerate, the complaint said.

Another police officer shot at the vehicle, striking it three times as it entered the parade route. Brooks was not hit by the bullets, the Waukesha police chief said Monday.

The complaint said one witness who spoke with police said the SUV "continued to drive in a zig zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down."

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier when he drove into the parade route.

He had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November in which he's accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they're investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low.

"We have a gentleman that has a huge background, via multiple states," Costello said.

Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999, mostly in Wisconsin but also in Georgia and Nevada, and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster. That included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery for the Nov. 2 incident.

Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that Brooks knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said.

NBC News published doorbell camera footage that appeared to capture Brooks' arrest. It showed Brooks, shivering in just a T-shirt, knocking on a homeowner's door and asking for help calling for a ride. Moments later, police surrounded the house and shouted, "Hands up!" Brooks, standing on the porch, held up his hands and said, "Whoa whoa whoa!"

Hundreds gathered at a downtown park Monday night in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for a candlelight vigil in honor of those lost and hurt. A pair of clergy solemnly read the names of those who died. Volunteers handed out sandwiches, hot chocolate and candles at the vigil, which was attended by interfaith leaders and elected officials.

"We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong," said a tearful Amanda Medina Roddy with the Waukesha school district.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a "Norman Rockwell-type" event that "became a nightmare."

Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.

People gather in Waukesha's Cutler Park for a candlelight vigil  for those affected by the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis.. The event was hosted by the Association of Waukesha Congregations with participation by the Brookfield - Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN) and the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.(Scott Ash/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
People gather in Waukesha's Cutler Park for a candlelight vigil for those affected by the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis.. The event was hosted by the Association of Waukesha Congregations with participation by the Brookfield - Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN) and the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.(Scott Ash/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)
Toppled chairs line W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
Toppled chairs line W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
This Nov. 16, 2021, photo provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks Jr. Brooks, the SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, killing and injuring multiple people, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha's police chief said Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said. (Waukesha County Sheriff Office via AP)
This Nov. 16, 2021, photo provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks Jr. Brooks, the SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, killing and injuring multiple people, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha's police chief said Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said. (Waukesha County Sheriff Office via AP)
A woman leans on a friend during a prayer vigil at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade, killing several and injuring dozens of others. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
A woman leans on a friend during a prayer vigil at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade, killing several and injuring dozens of others. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Map of the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade route and shows where an SUV plowed into parade marchers and bystanders
Map of the Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade route and shows where an SUV plowed into parade marchers and bystanders
A broken children's stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
A broken children's stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)
Neil Stolsmark shows a video a friend had taken as a vehicle hit two parade participants in front of his business the day before during a Christmas parade, in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. The elderly woman on the video died in the incident. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Neil Stolsmark shows a video a friend had taken as a vehicle hit two parade participants in front of his business the day before during a Christmas parade, in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. The elderly woman on the video died in the incident. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Police tape cordons off a street in Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade hitting multiple people Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Police tape cordons off a street in Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade hitting multiple people Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Neil Stolsmark looks out the window of his business in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, a day after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade, killing several and injuring dozens of other people. A video taken by one of his friends shows a vehicle fatally hitting an elderly person. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Neil Stolsmark looks out the window of his business in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, a day after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade, killing several and injuring dozens of other people. A video taken by one of his friends shows a vehicle fatally hitting an elderly person. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Print Headline: Child is 6th death in Waukesha parade crash; suspect charged

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