Lone suspect in Waukesha parade crash to appear in court today, as Wisconsin reels from tragedy that left 5 dead and dozens more injured


Darrell E. Brooks, 39, is the lone suspect, according to Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson. Brooks is slated to appear at 4 p.m. CT and will face initial charges filed, according to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office.

“We are working closely with the City of Waukesha Police Department to review the matter and decide what criminal charges will be issued,” the DA’s office said Monday. Police said they would be referring five counts of intentional homicide as well as other charges.

Brooks had been released from jail less than two weeks ago in a domestic abuse case — on a $1,000 bail that prosecutors recommended and now say was “inappropriately low.”

Police say Brooks is the man responsible for intentionally driving the SUV through a series of barricades and driving past parade marchers and spectators at a high rate of speed, later running over individuals before racing away through the streets of Waukesha, a city just west of Milwaukee.

Videos from the scene show a tragedy unfolding as eyewitnesses described the trauma of seeing pedestrians struck by the vehicle. In the following chaos, first responders and residents worked to treat the victims, with some officers and citizens transporting the injured in their personal vehicles to the hospital, Thompson said.

Five people were killed Sunday and have been identified by authorities: Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

48 people were treated at area hospitals, according to Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard.

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Brooks was involved in a domestic disturbance with another person just prior to driving his SUV through the parade, Thompson said, noting police were not able to respond to the initial call about the incident since reports of what happened at the parade came quickly after.

Indications from authorities are that Brooks was fleeing the initial incident, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the preliminary investigation findings. There was no police pursuit of Brooks leading up to the parade, police said.

Police had barricades up near the parade, and Brooks drove through those when an officer tried to stop him, Thompson said.

A Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the vehicle after it struck pedestrians, and no bystanders were struck by the officer’s gunfire, the chief said. Thompson added he doesn’t believe any shots were fired from the vehicle, and said the incident was not a terrorist event.

The SUV was identified shortly afterward, according to Thompson, and Brooks was later apprehended.

Police officers document marked evidence on Main Street the morning after a vehicle plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday.

Suspect was out on bail

Brooks had been released on $1,000 bail earlier this month, according to court records and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office, which said in a statement released Monday that the bail had been set “inappropriately low.”

Brooks posted the bail on November 11 in relation to charges including domestic abuse. That incident also involved Brooks being accused of using a car to cause an injury, according to a criminal complaint.

On November 2, according to the complaint, Brooks ran over a woman while she was walking through a gas station parking lot. “Officers observed tire tracks on her left pants leg,” the criminal complaint claims.

Prosecutors filed five charges related to the incident including obstructing an officer, second-degree recklessly endangering safety with domestic abuse assessments, disorderly conduct with domestic abuse assessments and misdemeanor battery with domestic abuse assessments.

Here's what we know about the suspect in the Waukesha parade tragedy
Brooks was also charged with bail jumping, because he was already out on bail following a July 24, 2020, incident in which he was charged with two counts of second-degree reckless endangering safety with use of a dangerous weapon, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, according to court documents.

In a statement, the Milwaukee DA’s office said it should not have recommended such a low bail for Brooks and that it has launched an internal review into the decision.

“The State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” the office said. “The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail.”

CNN reached out to Brooks’ attorney from the 2020 and earlier November 2021 incident about the DA statement but has not yet received a response.

Brooks also has an outstanding arrest warrant in Nevada in an unrelated case for which he was arrested and jumped bail, authorities said. CNN has reached out to a previous attorney for Brooks with no response.

Authorities in Nevada issued an active warrant on Brooks on August 15, 2016, for jumping bail, according to Sarah Johns, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson. Johns said detectives later determined Brooks was in Wisconsin. “However, detectives did not have viable intelligence on Brooks’ exact location.”

Victims still being treated at hospitals

Many of the victims injured in the incident were transported to area hospitals, and some were still being treated as of late Monday.

Eighteen children, ranging in ages 3 to 16, were transported to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, according to Dr. Amy Drendel, director of the hospital’s emergency department and trauma center.

“Injuries ranged from facial abrasions to broken bones to serious head injuries. Six of these patients were sent to the operating room last night and two additional patients are undergoing surgeries today,” Drendel said at a press conference Monday.

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The hospital received patients transported from nearby hospitals with different levels of injury, Drendel said, “some conscious and others unconscious.” The vast majority of the patients arrived by ambulance after being evaluated at other facilities, where it was determined they required a higher level of care.

Two children were discharged from the hospital as of Monday, according to Dr. Michael Meyer, medical director for the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit.

Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee received seven patients from the parade, according to hospital spokesperson Nalissa Wienke, and their statuses have not been released. Froedtert is the only Level I trauma center in southeast Wisconsin, typically used to provide care for the most critically ill patients.

Four people were admitted to ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital. Three have been discharged and one remains in stable condition as of Monday night, the hospital said in a statement.

As the community grieves, the local school district said there would be no classes Tuesday and that students would return after the Thanksgiving break.

CNN’s Paul P. Murphy, Raja Razek, Dave Alsup, Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Joe Sutton, Keith Allen, Shimon Prokupecz and Evan Perez contributed to this report.



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