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Man charged with five homicide counts in Wisconsin Christmas parade crash

Authorities say 62 people were injured, and a child died this evening, bringing the total number who have died to six.

LAST UPDATE | 23 Nov 2021

PROSECUTORS IN WISCONSIN have charged a man with intentional homicide over the deaths of five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.

Darrell Brooks Jr was charged with five counts of intentional homicide over the crash on Sunday in Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb.

Conviction on first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence.

He made his initial appearance in court today.

Prosecutors said that a sixth person, a child, has died and more charges are pending.

Four women and one man between the ages of 52 and 81 were killed in the incident, authorities had said, and 62 people were injured.

Of those sent to hospitals in the wake of the tragedy, 18 were children, according to Dr Amy Drendel, the head of emergency medicine at Children’s Wisconsin hospital. Several remain in critical condition.

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.

2.63913800 Darrell Brooks Jr. Waukesha County Sheriff Office / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP Waukesha County Sheriff Office / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP / Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

Brooks had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November, in which he is accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car.

Prosecutors said they are investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low.

Last night, police chief Dan Thompson said the suspect had appeared to be fleeing a domestic disturbance and was not being pursued by police when he drove his red SUV through the city’s annual holiday parade.

Thompson also said there appeared to be no motive for the disaster, other than that Brooks had driven away from some kind of confrontation as police were called to the scene.

He did not confirm reports the confrontation had involved a knife fight.

‘We are confident he acted alone. There is no evidence that this was a terrorist incident,” Thompson said of Brooks.

“There was no pursuit that led to this incident,” he added.

In Washington, President Joe Biden offered words of support to a community stunned by a “horrific act of violence,” and paid his respects to families “facing the fresh grief of a life without a loved one”.

Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly called it a “senseless tragedy” that affected the entire city west of Milwaukee, as it held its nearly six-decade-old parade to kick off the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas holiday season.

“Last night, lives were lost at what should have been a celebration,” Reilly said.

With reporting from © AFP, 2021.

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