WAUKESHA, Wis. First court appearance for man accused of ploughing through Waukesha Holiday Parade route, killing six and injuring dozens of others. Darrell Brooks, a 39-year-old Milwaukee man, has been identified as the driver of the vehicle.
Brooks was apprehended by police at the scene. According to police, he was driving through the parade route while involved in a domestic dispute elsewhere at the time.
There are five charges of first-degree intentional homicide against Brooks, which could result in life sentences for each.
He is being held on a $5 million bond at the time of this writing. In light of the seriousness of the charges and Brooks’ prior criminal record, Waukesha District Attorney Susan Opper requested a $5 million cash bail for Brooks.
According to Opper, “he has arrest records in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Georgia.”
At least 12 convictions have been made against Brooks in the last two decades. A warrant has been issued for his arrest in Nevada because he has failed to register as a sex offender.
Brooks is accused of running over a woman with whom he has a child just three weeks ago in Milwaukee County. His bail was set at $1,000, which he paid before being released. The District Attorney’s Office in Milwaukee is currently conducting an internal review of the case. It’s claimed that the bail amount was set “too low.”
According to Court Commissioner Kevin Costello: “The nature of this offence is shocking. “The fact that two detectives — and not just any laypeople — tried to stop this and then came to the conclusion that it was intentional is something I never expected to learn about today. Throughout my long career, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.”
Even as Brooks wept in court on Tuesday, the criminal complaint paints a picture of a man who ploughed down his victims, including children and the elderly, deliberately and without emotion.
Brooks appeared in court for the first time, rocking back and forth in his chair while several members of the victims’ families sat just feet away from him, wearing a suicide-prevention smock.
According to Opper, “there are no words to describe the danger this defendant poses to our community.”
An affidavit states that police tried to stop Brooks numerous times before he struck multiple parade participants and spectators on Sunday, November 21, according to a criminal complaint filed. The red Ford Escape was seen driving southbound just after 4:30 p.m. by a detective working traffic control for the Waukesha Christmas parade near White Rock Avenue and E. Main Street, according to the complaint.
He jumped in front of the vehicle, punched the hood, and shouted “stop,” but the SUV continued driving down E. Main Street, despite the detective’s repeated pleas for it to slow down. In order to get Brooks to stop, the detective went to the driver’s side window and banged on the door, yelling at him.
As stated in the complaint, Brooks allegedly drove past the detective and into the procession of the annual Fourth of July parade. When the detective noticed the car speeding up, he immediately set out to catch up with it.
According to the complaint, Brooks struck numerous pedestrians on E. Main Street while driving westbound, including parade participants and on-street spectators.
Police officers in the area of East Main Street and N.East Avenue saw the SUV around 4:38 pm and began attempting to get Brooks’ attention; he eventually turned around and drove away. He yelled “stop the vehicle” several times with his hand raised. The officer claims that he saw Brooks staring straight ahead at him with “no emotion on his face” when he approached him.
An abrupt left turn into the crowd of participants was reported by witnesses and prosecutors as Brooks approached the intersection of E. Main Street and NW Barstow Street.
It was at this point, according to the complaint, that officers realised that this was a deliberate act to strike and injure as many people as possible. Multiple people were struck by the vehicle as it swerved from side to side, according to an officer on the scene. Despite multiple people reportedly pulling at him for help, one officer continued to pursue the vehicle on foot. Another officer fired three times at the suspect vehicle.
Police spoke to a witness who said that they saw the driver “zig-zagging,” as if trying to avoid cars, not people, as he drove down the road. Several witnesses said they saw a “direct intent to hit as many parade participants” as possible, according to the police.
After learning that 8-year-old Jackson Sparks died as a result of his injuries, the district attorney says she plans to file a sixth count of first-degree intentional homicide.
Multiple blunt force injuries were the cause of death for five of the victims; the cause of death for the sixth has not yet been released.
The names of the six people killed have been released:
79-year-old Virginia Sorenson
71-year-old Leanna Owen
52-year-old Tamara Durand
52-year-old Jane Kulich
He was Wilhelm Gospel, 81 years old.
the 8-year-old boy named Jackson
Sixty-two additional victims were injured, some of them critically, according to prosecutors.
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