5 dead and 40 injured after the SUV passed through the Christmas parade
A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said, but gave no details of the person or any possible motive. The investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“What happened in Waukesha today is disgusting, and I have no doubts that those responsible will be brought to justice,” tweeted Attorney General Josh Kaul, the state’s top law enforcement official. .
The horror was recorded by the city’s livestream and spectators’ cell phones. Video shows the moment the SUV passed the barricades and the sound of what appears to be several gunshots. Thompson said a Waukesha police officer fired his gun in an attempt to stop the vehicle. No passerby was injured by the gunfire, and Thompson said he was unsure whether the driver was hit by the officer’s bullets.
Another video shows a young child dancing in the street as the SUV rushes past a few feet from her before rushing towards parade participants a few hundred feet away. One video, of pom-pom dancers, ends with a group of people taking care of a girl on the floor.
“There were pom poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate all over the place. I had to go from crumpled body to crumpled body to find my daughter, ”Corey Montiho, Waukesha School District board member, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My wife and two daughters were almost affected. Please pray for everyone. Please pray.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on their Facebook page that “Band members and volunteers have been affected and we are awaiting information on their conditions.” The group profile describes them as a “group of grannies who meet once a week to practice summer and winter parade routines.”
A Catholic priest, several parishioners and Catholic schoolchildren in Waukesha were among the injured, said Archdiocese of Milwaukee spokeswoman Sandra Peterson.
Chris Germain, co-owner of studio Aspire Dance Center, had around 70 people in the parade, with age 2 being pulled in carts until they were 18. Germain, whose 3-year-old daughter was in the parade, said he was driving at the head of their driveway when he saw a brown SUV that “just blasted right in front of us”. A police officer came in pursuit. Germain said he jumped out of his own SUV and rounded up the girls who were with him to safety.
Then he stepped forward to see the damage.
“There were small children lying all over the road, there were police and paramedics doing CPR on several members of the parade,” he said.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis city councilor who is running as Wisconsin state treasurer, said he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV rush into the area.
“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio said. “And after that, we just heard deafening screams and screams from the crowd, from the people in the parade. And people started to rush, to run away with tears in their eyes, to cry.
The Waukesha School District canceled classes on Monday and said in a notice on its website that additional counselors would be available for students and staff. The parade entry list included cheering, dancing and marching band entries associated with schools in the district.
Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife, Kathy, “are praying for Waukesha tonight and for all the children, families and community members affected by this senseless act.”
The parade, held annually on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year, the 59th, had for theme “comfort and joy”.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday of charges resulting from the shooting of three men during the unrest in that city in August 2020.