An 8-year-old boy became the sixth victim to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
The criminal complaint alleges that the suspect in the case, Darrell Brooks Jr., steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators. Brooks was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. 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. Bail for Brooks was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for January 14, 2022.
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. 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.
Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt will cover funeral expenses for the 6 people who died at the parade attack in his hometown of Waukesha, WI. pic.twitter.com/CUPeFUf2cz
— The Recount (@therecount) November 24, 2021
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. 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.
#Waukesha Judge sets bail at $5 million for Darrell Brooks: “this offense is shocking…two detectives…not only tried to stop this but rendered an opinion this was an intentional act. You are presumed innocent sir but that’s what the allegations are.”
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) November 23, 2021
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 in the crash and was being discharged from the hospital, according to his GoFundMe page.
Here is a link to the family’s GoFundMe: https://t.co/lllY54kdOL
— Melissa Zygowicz (@MelissaZygowicz) November 23, 2021
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.