Police have identified the suspect who allegedly drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing five and injuring dozens on Sunday, as 39-year-old Darrell E Brooks, saying that authorities have no evidence to indicate that the incident was a “terrorist” attack.
At a news conference on Monday, Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson named the five victims who died in the incident – four women and one man between the ages of 52 and 81.
Thompson said 48 people were injured on Sunday, including two children who are in critical condition.
“We have information that the suspect, prior to the incident, was involved in a domestic disturbance – which is just minutes prior – and the suspect left that scene just prior to our arrival to the domestic disturbance,” Thompson told reporters.
The police chief said authorities believe the suspect acted alone, and police will recommend five charges of “intentional homicide” against him.
Thompson said the investigation into possible motives is still ongoing.
“We can tell you that the investigation did not indicate that there’s any type of domestic or international type of terrorism,” he told reporters.
A red SUV had sped through the crowd at the Christmas parade in Waukesha, about 32 kilometres (20 miles) west of Milwaukee, at approximately 4:39pm (22:39 GMT) on Sunday.
Shortly after midnight local time, the City of Waukesha announced on Twitter that five people had been killed.
At this time, we can confirm that 5 people are deceased and over 40 are injured. However, these numbers may change as we collect additional information. Many people have self-transported to area hospitals. The Police Department has the person of interest in custody.
— cityofwaukesha (@CityofWaukesha) November 22, 2021
“I heard and saw the people being hit, but what you could do more than seeing is hearing, and just that sound was insane,” Jodi Singsime, a 42-year-old nurse who took shelter in a store before going out to help the injured, told the Reuters news agency.
Belen Santamaria, a 39-year-old factory worker, who watched the procession from the sidewalk, said the car came “at full speed. Then I started to hear people screaming,” she said.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly told reporters on Monday the city has been holding a Christmas parade for nearly 60 years.
“Last night, that parade became a nightmare. Last night, many were severely injured. Last night, lives were lost during the middle of what should have been a celebration … We experienced a horrific tragedy. We have so much healing that needs to occur,” Reilly said.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers ordered US and state flags to be flown at half-staff on Monday in honour of the victims.
“Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act,” Evers said on Twitter on Sunday.
“I’m grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information.”
Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a dance band that performs at parades, said members of the group were killed in the incident without identifying them.
“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together,” the group said in a Facebook post.
“Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted.”
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden will receive “regular updates” about the tragedy.
“Our team is in close touch with local officials to offer any support and assistance needed. Our hearts are with the families and the entire community,” she wrote on Twitter.
Later on Monday, Biden said his administration is monitoring the situation “very closely” and offered condolences for the victims’ families.