US Christmas parade deaths: Suspect 'intentionally drove at crowd after domestic incident'

22 November 2021, 19:11 | Updated: 23 November 2021, 00:44

Five people died in the parade tragedy
Five people died in the parade tragedy. Picture: Social media/Getty

By Will Taylor

The suspect in the Christmas market incident which left five people dead "intentionally" drove through barriers and into the crowd, police in the US say.

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Five people died and 48 are injured, including two children who are in a critical condition, after the tragedy in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

But it is not thought it was a terrorist incident.

In a press conference on Monday evening UK time - early afternoon in the US - police said the suspect, Darrell E Brooks, 39, had left a "domestic disturbance" just before the incident.

He was not being pursued by police.

An officer fired at the suspect to stop the vehicle but had to hold fire because of the amount of people at the scene.

Nobody was injured because of the shooting, police said.

The suspect was taken into custody nearby and officers are "confident" he acted alone.

Read more: At least five dead and 40 injured as car plows into crowd at US Christmas parade

Read more: Father went 'from one body to another’ searching for daughter after US Xmas parade tragedy

Waukesha chief of police Daniel Thompson said: "A lone subject intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people that were celebrating the Waukesha Christmas parade, which resulted in killing five individuals and injuring 48 additional individuals.

"I just received information that two of the 48 are children and they're in a critical condition.

"We have information that the suspect, prior to the incident, was involved in a domestic disturbance which was just minutes prior, and the suspect left that scene just prior to our arrival to that domestic disturbance."

Footage showed the speeding vehicle collide with a crowd as they marched down a street on Sunday afternoon.

They were taking part in the annual festive parade in Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The five deaths were confirmed as Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Chief Thompson said police are preparing five charges of intentional homicide against Brooks, who is from Milwaukee.

Shocking social media footage shows the moment the car plows into a group of people.

A woman can be heard screaming "oh my god!" repeatedly as young dancers are hit, while another video of dancers ends with a group tending to a girl on the ground.

Corey Montiho said: "There were pompoms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter.

Police said the suspect was not being pursued
Police said the suspect was not being pursued. Picture: Getty

"My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray."

A group called the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, which organises routines for parades, said on Facebook that its members were "impacted" and was awaiting word on their conditions.

Chris Germain, who co-owns the Aspire Dance Centre studio, had about 70 people in the parade ranging from the ages of two to 18.

He said his three-year-old daughter was in the parade, and that he saw a maroon vehicle that "just blazed right past us".