Over the weekend, a simple Holiday celebration in Waukesha, Wisconsin, ended in senseless tragedy when an SUV plowed into a crowd of people killing at least five and injuring more than 40 others including at least 18 children who were hospitalized.
According to CNN, the incident which took place Sunday during the Waukesha Christmas parade, began when a driver who police believe was fleeing another incident drove into the parade route and ultimately collided with the people taking part in the festivities. Authorities also made sure to say that the tragedy at the parade, which was live-streamed and captured by a bystander’s cell phone camera, didn’t appear to be an intentional act of domestic terrorism nor did it appear to have anything to do with Kyle Rittenhouse being acquitted in Wisconsin last week.
Waukesha officials confirmed the police count of deaths and injuries but included that the number “may change as we collect additional information.”
Main Street is closed from Barstow & Main to Wisconsin and Main. The street will not be open before mid-day tomorrow, Monday, November 22nd. Businesses in this area should remain closed as entry and exit from Main Street will not be allowed.
— cityofwaukesha (@CityofWaukesha) November 22, 2021
Police Chief Daniel P. Thompson said officers are working with the Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office to identify victims, and while he didn’t initially identify the person suspected of driving the SUV, he did say there is “a person of interest in custody,” and he confirmed that a Waukesha police officer did shoot at the SUV in effort to stop the driver, that no police gunfire struck bystanders and that no shots appeared to have been fired from the SUV.
But the man suspected of driving the SUV has now been identified as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr., an aspiring rapper with a criminal rap sheet that reportedly dates back to 1999 and includes “more than 15 arrests in the state of Wisconsin alone for charges including possession of drugs, strangulation, and suffocation, battery, illegally possessing firearms as a convicted felon and resisting arrest,” according to the Daily Mail.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) November 22, 2021
Brooks had reportedly been in custody from July 2020 to February 2021 after being held on a $7,500 bond for allegedly getting into a fight that ended with him shooting at another vehicle. Brooks’ bond was reduced to $500 in February on the grounds he wasn’t being afforded due process because the courts couldn’t schedule his trial quickly enough.
But, as the Daily Mail reported, Brooks was arrested again on November 2, in Milwaukee after being accused of hunting down the mother of one of his children, following her to a gas station in his SUV, punching her in the face, and then running her over with his vehicle. It’s unclear how badly the woman was injured, but she apparently survived because while the Daily Mail reported that Brooks was “charged with five counts including bail jumping,” there doesn’t appear to be any murder or death-related charges stemming from that incident.
But Brooks—who is also reportedly registered as a sex offender in Nevada, where he was charged with having sex with a minor—was released by November 19, after posting a $1,000 cash bond. Two days later came the incident where, once again, he’s accused of running over people with the same Ford SUV he’s accused of running over the mother of his child with—only this time, people were killed.
USA Today reports that Brooks was fleeing from a domestic disturbance with a report of a knife before crashing into victims at the parade.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Monday that Brooks was not being chased and ultimately be charged with five counts of intentional homicide.
Boooooy, there are some people who just shouldn’t be allowed to walk free under any circumstances. This is just sad and senseless and our hearts go out to all the victims and their families.