Christmas Parade Driver Tried to Inflict Maximum Carnage, Prosecutors Say

·4 min read
WAUKESHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
WAUKESHA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Not long after a child became the sixth person to die in connection with the catastrophic attack on a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday, prosecutors painted a picture of the sole suspect as driven by a twisted thirst for blood.

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, who was arrested in the hours after the parade turned into a bloodbath, ignored demands to stop his car that night. He also seemed to weave around vehicles in an attempt to inflict the most damage possible, prosecutors said.

“As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zig-zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people,” one witness who was at the 58th annual Christmas parade told police, according to the complaint filed Tuesday. “There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down.”

Brooks is now facing five counts of intentional homicide after prosecutors say he plowed his red SUV through barricades and into the parade crowd, killing six people and injuring at least 60 more in the process. Authorities said Monday that the deadly incident occurred just minutes after Brooks, a sex offender who recently posted bail in another case, was involved “in a domestic disturbance.”

It was unclear if Brooks had an attorney on Tuesday, and a lawyer who previously represented him in the alleged offenses for which he was out on bail at the time of the attack said he was not representing him in the parade incident.

The five previously-confirmed fatalities have been identified as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81. The Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s office concluded that all five victims sustained multiple blunt force injuries.

And during a Tuesday bond hearing, County District Attorney Susan L. Opper revealed that a child died on Tuesday from injures sustained in the attack but did not provide any additional details. Prosecutors said they now intend to file a sixth count of intentional homicide this week.

Judge Kevin Costello ultimately agreed with the prosecution’s request to set Brooks’ bail at $5 million in cash.

​Prosecutors allege in a detailed criminal complaint that authorities tried several times to stop Brooks during the deadly incident caught on camera—but he refused to yield. The incident occurred at around 4:30 p.m. local time when a Waukesha detective “observed people jumping out of the way of the red Ford Escape.”

The detective stepped in front of the car and “pounded on the hood” and yelled multiple times to “Stop”—but Brooks continued driving westbound on East Main street, which was the route of the parade, according to the complaint.

“At that time, the vehicle was driving at a slow speed and the vehicle brushed Detective Casey back off of the front of the car, causing him to be positioned down the driver’s side of the vehicle,” the complaint states, adding that the detective then “went to the driver’s side window and pounded on the driver’s side door yelling, ‘Stop.’”

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The complaint states that the detective identified the driver as Brooks, who drove past him and directly “into the parade processions.” The detective said he chased Brooks on foot and watched him “begin to drive faster”—prompting him to ask for backup.

Another Waukesha police officer mentioned in the complaint also states he tried to stop Brooks during the attack, including standing directly “in-line with the vehicle” with his hands up. The officer believed that Brooks was going about 25 miles per hour.

The officer said Brooks was “looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face,” the complaint states.

The officer said that at one point Brooks “appeared to rapidly accelerate,” causing his tires to squeal as he took an “abrupt left turn into the crowd of parade participants.”

Videos of the incident posted online showed the car apparently trying to swerve before plowing into the crowd. The car continued directly into the parade, running over people as attendees frantically tried to scatter away and screams fillled the air.

“At this point, it was clear to [the officer] that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible,” the complaint states, adding that the officer “observed the vehicle appeared to be intentionally moving side to side, striking multiple people, and bodies and objects were flying from the area of the vehicle.”

The complaint states that eventually a third officer “shot at the vehicle three times, striking it three times.” None of the bullets injured bystanders, all of whom—at least among those cited in the complaint—concluded that Brooks seemed to intentionally attack the parade.

“Another witness who described the same zig-zag driving pattern by the SUV and the witness further indicated he felt it was ‘a direct intent to hit as many parade participants,” as possible, the complaint states.

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