Pictured: 'Dancing Grannies' killed when SUV ploughed into crowd in Wisconsin

23 November 2021, 10:32

LeAnna Owen (left) and Virginia Sorenson (right) were killed at the Christmas parade.
LeAnna Owen (left) and Virginia Sorenson (right) were killed at the Christmas parade. Picture: Facebook

By Emma Soteriou

The five people murdered during a US Christmas parade in Wisconsin have been identified, with three named as a part of a group of dancing grannies who were performing at the show.

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A car ploughed into a crowd at the parade on Sunday, injuring 48 people as well as killing five.

In a statement, Waukesha police confirmed those who had died were: Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Ms Sorenson, Ms Owen and Ms Durand were all a part of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, who perform in several parades every year. Mr Hospel was the husband of another member, helping the group out at the event.

The group said it was "devastated" by the tragedy, saying their "hearts are heavy".

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

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

"The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are devastated by this terrible tragedy with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade," a statement said.

"Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.

"While performing, the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause, which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.

"Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed.....joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue...held us together."

Wilhelm Hospel was husband to one of the dancing grannies.
Wilhelm Hospel was husband to one of the dancing grannies. Picture: Facebook

They added: "Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted.

"Please keep them, their families, friends, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and everyone whose lives have forever changed in your thoughts and prayers."

Ms Durand's husband paid tribute to her on The Daily Beast, saying: "She was super energetic, she was that type of person who when she walks in the room, everybody notices her smile."

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

The dancing group performs at around 25 parades a year.
The dancing group performs at around 25 parades a year. Picture: Facebook

Bank employee Jane Kulich, 52, was the fifth person killed in the incident.

She was said to have been representing Citizens Bank in the parade, prior to the incident.

Jane Kulich was killed at the Christmas parade.
Jane Kulich was killed at the Christmas parade. Picture: Facebook

The suspect was named as 39-year-old Darrell E. Brooks from Milwaukee. He is still in police custody, the Waukesha force said.

Chief Daniel Thompson said he "intentionally" drove through the barricades just minutes after being "involved in a domestic disturbance".

A candlelit vigil has since been held in memory of those lost in the tragedy, with hundreds of locals attending on Monday evening.