Boy, 8, Dies in Hospital After Being Struck in Waukesha Parade Crash
Eight-year-old Boy was the victim of an SUV driver who drove into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee. A criminal complaint claimed that the suspect drove side-to-side to strike spectators and other marchers.
Darrell Brooks Jr. (39) was arrested for five counts of intentional homicide in the first degree. This charge is mandatory and carries a life sentence. 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. A preliminary hearing for January 14 was held. His bail was set to $5 million.
“The nature of this offense is shocking,” said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.
Susan Opper, Waukesha County district attorney said that more charges regarding the sixth death as well as the over 60 injured people will come later in the week. In addition to the previously reported 48 injuries, the criminal complaint stated that 62 more people were inflicted.
Brooks, who is being accused of speeding off from police officers to enter the Waukesha Christmas parade Sunday night on Sunday evening, refused to slow down even though an officer banged against his SUV’s roof. The vehicle continued to move despite three more shots being fired by another officer.
Five individuals aged 52-81 years old were declared dead in less than an hour. Jackson Sparks (aged 8), was one of the victims. According to Tucker Sparks’ GoFundMe page, he was with Jackson, an 8-year-old boy, as he walked in the parade along with Tucker, his 12-year old brother, who had been injured in the accident and was currently being released from hospital.
“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. Many of the injured are still 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.
The criminal complaint states that Brooks failed to respond to several requests to stop him.
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 made a stop at one point but, instead of turning back towards the parade route, turned toward the crowd, and seemed to accelerate rapidly, according to the complaint.
A third officer fired at the car, hitting it three more times when it was entering the parade route. According to the Waukesha Police Chief, Brooks did not get hit.
The complaint said one witness who spoke with police said the SUV “continued to drive in a zig zag motion. This was more like an SUV trying to avoid cars than people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down.”
Waukesha Chief Dan Thompson, Police Officer said Brooks was driving away from the site of a domestic conflict that occurred just moments earlier as he arrived on 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 was convicted of crimes over a dozen times in Wisconsin, Georgia, Nevada and Georgia since 1999. He also had two outstanding criminal cases at the time. These included resisting and obstructing officers, reckless endangering or disorderly conduct, bail jumping, battery, and battery in relation to the Nov. 2 incident.
Thompson stated that the evidence against Brooks was insufficient to prove that the Sunday bloodshed was terrorist-related. Brooks was acting alone, said the chief.
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!”
On Monday night, hundreds gathered in Waukesha for a candlelight ceremony in memory of the hurt and those who lost them. Two clergy read out the names of the deceased solemnly. At the Vigil, volunteers distributed hot chocolate, candles, and sandwiches to interfaith leaders.
“We are parents. “We are neighbours. We’re hurting. We feel angry. We feel sad. We’re confused. We are grateful. All of us are 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 was based in Madison, Wisconsin. Doug Glass was a Minneapolis-based writer for the Associated Press.