- Social media videos show a red SUV breaking through obstacles and speeding through the streets during a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
- Authorities said 11 adults and 12 children were taken to a local hospital.
- A “suspicious vehicle” was recovered and a person interested in custody, according to police.
MILWAKI – An SUV raced into a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, killing several people and injuring at least 20, authorities said Sunday.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said the investigation is ongoing, but a “suspicious vehicle” has been recovered and there is a person in custody at the moment.
Some of the injured were taken to hospital by police, and others were taken by family members, Thompson said.As “too sad” and “too chaotic.”He declined to say the exact number of dead, citing the need to inform relatives first.
The Waukesha Fire Department took 11 adults and 12 children to a local hospital, Fire Chief Steve Howard told a news conference.
Waukesha police, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, said the scene is now safe and secure.
The incident occurred at one of the city’s largest and most cherished annual events when a red SUV hit the road, plowing through parade participants.
Videos posted on social media, including a live feed of the parade hosted by Wakesha City, show a red SUV breaking through the barrier and speeding down the street where the parade was taking place.
Thompson said a police officer opened fire in an attempt to stop the SUV, and no pedestrian was injured in the gunfire. He said police did not believe any shots were fired from the SUV.
In the footage of the city, taken from a distance, the SUV is running in a parade just behind a school marching band. A reporter at the scene said a red SUV came down the street and hit the crowd as it hit people, knocking many to the ground.
Corey Montiho, a member of the Waukesha School District Board, said his daughter’s dance troupe was hit by an SUV.
“These were pom-poms and shoes and hot chocolate scattered everywhere. I had to move from one crumbling body to another to find my daughter,” he said. “My wife and two daughters are almost injured. Please pray. Pray.”
“My family is safe but not many. I was holding a little girl’s head in my hand, she was holding it and blood was coming out of her ears. I hugged her mother when she broke down. Please pray.”
The Waukesha School District announced on Facebook that all public schools would be canceled on Monday.
Thompson said it was unknown whether the incident was linked to terrorism.
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‘Deaf crying and screaming’: Witness describes chaotic scene
Angelito Tenorio, a West Alice Alderman who is running for treasurer in the state of Wisconsin, said he ended up marching in the parade with his family and friends before seeing her drive through the parade.
“We saw an SUV crossover, just put the paddle in the metal and zoomed in at full speed along the parade route,” Tenorio said. “And then we heard a huge explosion, and only deafening cries and screams from the people who were hit in the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there were people on the ground who looked like they were hit by the car.” “
Tenorio said he saw about 10 people, children and adults on the ground who appeared to have been hit by the vehicle.
He added, “It happened so fast.”
Alderman Don Paul Brown said he was marching towards the front of the parade and was almost at home when his wife texted him asking if he was OK.
“I’m shocked,” he said. “This parade draws people from all over the place, even from Jefferson County. I’m numb. It’s pretty annoying.”
He added: “My tendency was to try to help, but that would be the last thing the police could do. All I can do is be a source for the people. We have to think about the shots now. It breaks my heart.”
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said he and his wife, Kathy, are “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the children, families and community members affected by this senseless act.”
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, who was at the parade but left just before the event, called it an “unspeakable tragedy” affecting all of us as we work to go through an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions. . “
The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th of every Sunday event held before Thanksgiving.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee and about 55 miles north of Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Kyle Reitenhaus was acquitted of firing on three men during a riot in the town on Friday, August 2020.
Contributors: Kathy Kozlovis and Kylie Sterl, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; The Associated Press