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Wisconsin: Driver ‘intentionally’ mowed down people at parade

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Wisconsin officials will seek to charge a driver who ploughed into a Christmas parade on Sunday with five counts of intentional homicide.

Police said Darrell Edward Brooks Jr, 39, killed five people, aged between 52 and 81, and injured 48 others, including young children, in Waukesha.

Mr Brooks was fleeing a domestic disturbance when he mowed into the crowd, they said.

They added he could face further charges based upon their investigation.

Waukesha police also said the incident was not an act of terrorism.

Several school children and grandparents were among the victims.

What do we know about the victims?
The victims named on Monday were:

  • Mr Wilhelm Hospel, 81
  • Ms Virginia Sorenson, 79
  • Ms LeAnna Owen, 71
  • Ms Tamara Durand, 52
  • Ms Jane Kulich, 52

They include members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, who are a regular fixture in the city’s parades.

“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages,” the group wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies.”

Dozens of people remain in hospital. Police said the injured were taken to six area hospitals by first responders as well as other residents who were at the parade.

Eighteen children were admitted after the incident, the Children’s Wisconsin paediatric hospital told reporters on Monday.

Care providers described the incident as one of the state’s largest mass casualty events involving children in recent history. Physicians said some children sustained serious head injuries and broken bones.

The injured range in age from three to 16 and include three sets of siblings, medical staff said. Ten children required treatment in the intensive care unit.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said one of its priests, multiple parishioners and students at a local Catholic school were also among the injured.

What do we know about the suspect?

“A lone subject intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades and into a crowd of people that was celebrating the Waukesha Christmas parade,” city police chief Dan Thompson told reporters at a news conference on Monday.

He added that an officer had fired shots at the vehicle, but had to stop due to the number of people on the street.

Police said they were responding to a domestic incident involving Mr Brooks when he fled the scene and mowed through the parade crowd. Earlier media reports suggested he was escaping a knife fight, but police have not confirmed those details.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper reported Mr Brooks is currently facing at least five other criminal charges – including for domestic abuse and battery – and had been released from jail on bond just two days earlier. BBC News has also reviewed the records belonging to the suspect.

In a statement on Monday, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, a Democrat, said the bail recommendation in Mr Brooks’ open court case was “inappropriately low in light of the nature of recent charges and the pending charges” against him.

Mr Brooks is from the city of Milwaukee, about 24 km (15 miles) east of Waukesha.

 

Source: BBC

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