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Tipsheet

Waukesha Authorities Confirm Details About Suspect, Victims in Parade Tragedy

AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

The day after a vehicle smashed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, city authorities provided another update on their investigation into the tragedy.

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Waukesha's police chief confirmed 48 victims were treated at area hospitals and became emotional when he read the names of the five parade goers who were killed on Sunday:

  • Virginia Sorenson, a 79 year old female
  • LeAnna Owen, 71 year old female
  • Tamara Durand, 52 year old female
  • Jane Kulich, 52 year old female
  • Wilhelm Hospel, 81 year old male 

Waukesha's police chief also confirmed that the suspect — identified as Darrell Brooks, 39, from Milwaukee — would be referred to prosecutors for five counts of first degree intentional homicide and that they believe the suspect "intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people" as he was fleeing an alleged domestic violence incident.

Brooks, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "had an ongoing domestic violence case and was out of custody after prosecutors recommended an 'inappropriately low' bail in the case, the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office said Monday."

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The Journal Sentinel also reported that the suspected driver "has been charged three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others, most recently on Nov. 5 as part of a domestic abuse incident for which he was also charged with resisting or obstructing an officer."

The Journal Sentinel explains the suspect's past charges:

In the case this month, a woman told police Brooks purposefully ran her "over with his vehicle" while she was walking through a gas station parking lot after he had followed her there after a fight, according to the criminal complaint.

Brooks posted $1,000 bond on Nov. 11 in the most recent incident and was released from Milwaukee County Jail on Nov. 16, according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. He also was charged in July 2020 with two felony counts of second-degree recklessly endangering the safety of others using a dangerous weapon. Both cases are ongoing.

The recent $1,000 bail recommended by prosecutors, and accepted by the court commissioner, was "inappropriately low" given the nature of the charges, according to a statement Monday from the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, led by District Attorney John Chisholm.

"This office is currently conducting an internal review of the decision to make the recent bail recommendation in this matter in order to determine the appropriate next steps."

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So Brooks, the suspect, is something of a career criminal who has previously been charged with running someone over on purpose in a domestic dispute, but was able to get out on bail — deemed inappropriately low — and subsequently get in another domestic altercation he then allegedly fled by racing through the Christmas parade and mowing people down.

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