Darrell Brooks Faces Murder Charges after Deadly Wisconsin Parade

Darrell Brooks Faces Murder Charges after Deadly Wisconsin Parade Photo Source: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/USA Today Network/Sipa USA/New York Post

A holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, turned deadly over the weekend when a red SUV plowed through a crowded street after residents came together to celebrate the holiday season.

The red SUV is seen on the city’s live-streamed footage speeding through the town's Main Street. Moments later, it came to a screeching stop after it struck what appeared to be a group in a marching band and a crowd of residents lining the street. After striking the crowd, the SUV sped away before officers began their pursuit.

Officials later confirmed that the vehicle killed four women and one man along with injuring at least 40 other parade-goers, many of whom were children. During a press conference on Monday, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson struggled to keep his composure as he read off the names of those who lost their lives. They included Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Officials also named 39-year-old Darrell Brooks as the driver behind the vehicle. After the deadly crash, Brooks was arrested and named as a person of interest. On Monday, officials charged Brooks with five counts of intentional homicide.

After announcing the charges, authorities detailed Brooks had a significant criminal history. His past was littered with an array of charges including domestic abuse, resisting or obstructing an officer, endangering safety, bail jumping recklessly, and disorderly conduct and battery. According to court records, Brooks was out on a $1000 cash bond as of November 11.

Early on in the investigation, authorities expressed that the attack was not connected to any suspected terrorism or to the prior week’s ruling in the Kyle Rittenhouse case that acquitted the teen of charges for killing two protesters and injuring another during the social justice riots last summer.

Instead, officials have released details that Brooks’ rampage likely was connected to a domestic incident that happened moments before Brooks fatally crashed into the parade. In an attempt to flee before the cops arrived at the domestic disturbance, authorities say Brooks was rerouted to the parade where he intentionally struck the crowd. Officials confirmed that a knife may have been involved in that domestic incident, but they did not go into further detail. “We’re confident he acted alone,” police chief Thompson shared. “We have no information that Brooks knew anybody in the parade."

Residents who were at the scene detail a horrific aftermath that was akin to a warzone. Corey Montiho, a board member of the School District of Waukesha shared with a local newspaper that his daughter was at the parade. "There were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere," he said. "I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray. My family is safe but many are not. I held one little girl's head in my hand, she was seizing and she was bleeding out of her ears. I held her mother as she collapsed. Please pray.”

As details about the horrific event continue to surface, many have questioned why a criminal with such a lengthy rap sheet was allowed to post bail and such a low one at that. The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office shared in a statement Monday, "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." A review into the bail recommendation is currently underway.

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, when she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.