Child is 6th death in Waukesha parade crash; suspect charged

Christmas_Parade_SUV_42934 Darrell Brooks, center, is escorted out of the courtroom after making his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_56785 This image provided by the Waukesha County Sheriff Office in Waukesha, Wis., shows Darrell Brooks, the suspect in a Christmas parade crash in suburban Milwaukee that killed five people. Brooks was due in court Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, where five homicide charges were expected to be filed, a crime that can carry the stiffest penalty possible under Wisconsin law — mandatory life in prison.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_42485 Darrell Brooks, left, speaks with a lawyer during his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_34019 Waukesha County district attorney Susan Opper leaves courtroom following Darrell Brooks' initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_44145 Darrell Brooks, center, makes his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_06134 Darrell Brooks, escorted by sheriff deputies, makes his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_08291 Darrell Brooks, center, speaks with a lawyer during his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
APTOPIX_Christmas_Parade_SUV_42934 Darrell Brooks, center, is escorted out of the courtroom after making his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors in Wisconsin have charged Brooks with intentional homicide in the deaths of at least five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_60531 A crowd attends a candlelight vigil for those affected by the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy in Cutler Park Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis.. The event was hosted by the Association of Waukesha Congregations with participation by the Brookfield - Elm Grove Interfaith Network (BEGIN) and the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_69583 Fr. Matthew Widder speaks during a prayer service at St. William Catholic Church for those affected by the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis. The service is hosted by the Catholic Community of Waukesha. The community consists of four Waukesha parishes: St. William, St. John Neumann, St. Mary and St. Joseph. One priest in the community and multiple parishioners and Catholic school children were injured and hospitalized in the parade, according to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_29593 A song is played as messages on a cross is seen during a candle light vigil in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade killing multiple people and injuring dozens. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps
Magic_Bucks_Basketball_Christmas_Parade_SUV_27710 Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks players, along with fans, observe a moment of silence for the victims of the Waukesha Parade incident, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, in Milwaukee.
Christmas_Parade_SUV_73922 A small child takes part in a candle light vigil in downtown Waukesha, Wis., Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 after an SUV plowed into a Sunday Christmas parade killing multiple people and injuring dozens.
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An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He rocked back and forth in his seat and cried throughout his court hearing on Tuesday, his attorney’s arm on his back, as the charges against him were detailed. His bail was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 14.

“The nature of this offense is shocking,” said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.

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.

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.

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.

“This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the page’s organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote.

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.

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.

A detective — wearing police insignia and a neon orange safety vest — stepped in front of Brooks’ vehicle and pounded on the hood, shouting “Stop,” several times but Brooks drove past him, according to the complaint.

A uniformed police officer who saw Brooks’ SUV traveling toward the parade route also tried to get his attention, yelling “Stop, stop the vehicle” several times but was ignored, according to the complaint. The officer “observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face,” the complaint said.

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.

Another police officer shot at the vehicle, striking it three times as it entered the parade route. Brooks was not hit by the bullets, the Waukesha police chief said Monday.

The complaint said one witness who spoke with police said the SUV “continued to drive in a zig zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down.”

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier when he drove into the parade route.

He had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November in which he’s accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they’re investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low.

Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999, mostly in Wisconsin but also in Georgia and Nevada, and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster. That included resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery for the Nov. 2 incident.

Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that Brooks knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said.

NBC News published doorbell camera footage that appeared to capture Brooks’ arrest. It showed Brooks, shivering in just a T-shirt, knocking on a homeowner’s door and asking for help calling for a ride. Moments later, police surrounded the house and shouted, “Hands up!” Brooks, standing on the porch, held up his hands and said, “Whoa whoa whoa!”

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.

“We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong,” said a tearful Amanda Medina Roddy with the Waukesha school district.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a “Norman Rockwell-type” event that “became a nightmare.”

___

Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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