By SCOTT BAUER and MIKE HOUSEHOLDER | The Related Press
WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — A joyous scene of marching bands and youngsters dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms turned lethal instantly, as an SUV sped by barricades and right into a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing not less than 5 folks and injuring greater than 40 others.
One video confirmed a girl screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly as a bunch of younger dancers was struck Sunday. A father talked of going “from one crumpled physique to the opposite” in quest of his daughter. Members of a “Dancing Grannies” membership have been amongst these hit.
The town of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it may verify not less than 5 died and greater than 40 have been injured, whereas noting that it was nonetheless amassing info. The town’s assertion additionally famous that many individuals took themselves to hospitals. The town didn’t launch any extra details about those that died.
A “particular person of curiosity” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson stated, however he gave no particulars in regards to the particular person or any potential motive. The investigation was ongoing, with help from the Wisconsin Division of Justice.
“What happened in Waukesha right this moment is sickening, and I’ve each confidence that these accountable can be dropped at justice,” Lawyer Normal Josh Kaul, the state’s high regulation enforcement officer, tweeted.
The horror was recorded by town’s livestream and onlookers’ cellphones. One video reveals the second the SUV broke by the barricades and the sound of what seems to be a number of gunshots. Thompson stated a Waukesha police officer fired his gun to attempt to cease the automobile. No bystanders have been injured by the gunfire, and Thompson stated he didn’t know if the driving force was struck by the officer’s bullets.
One other video reveals a younger little one dancing on the street because the SUV speeds by, just some ft from her, earlier than it hurtles into parade members just a few hundred ft forward. One video, of dancers with pompoms, ends with a bunch of individuals tending to a woman on the bottom.
“There have been pompoms and sneakers and spilled sizzling chocolate all over the place. I needed to go from one crumpled physique to the opposite to seek out my daughter,” Corey Montiho, a Waukesha college district board member, advised the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “My spouse and two daughters have been nearly hit. Please pray for everyone. Please pray.”
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Fb web page that “members of the group and volunteers have been impacted and we’re ready for phrase on their circumstances.” The group’s profile describes them as a “group of grannies that meet as soon as every week to apply routines for summer time and winter parades.”
A Catholic priest, a number of parishioners and Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren have been amongst these injured, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee spokeswoman Sandra Peterson stated.
Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Middle studio, had about 70 folks within the parade starting from as younger as 2 being pulled in wagons to age 18. Germain, whose 3-year-old daughter was within the parade, stated he was driving on the head of their entry when he noticed a maroon SUV that “simply blazed proper previous us.” A police officer ran previous in chase. Germain stated he jumped out of his personal SUV and gathered the women who have been with him to security.
Then he walked ahead to see the harm.
“There have been babies laying all around the street, there have been cops and EMTs doing CPR on a number of members of the parade,” he stated.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who’s working for Wisconsin state treasurer, stated he was watching the parade together with his household after they noticed the SUV come rushing into the realm.
“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio stated. “And after that, we simply heard deafening cries and screams from the group, from the folks on the parade. And other people began dashing, working away with tears of their eyes, crying.”
The Waukesha college district canceled lessons Monday and stated in a discover on its web site that additional counselors could be readily available for college kids and workers. The parade’s listing of entries included cheer, dance and band entries related to district colleges.
Gov. Tony Evers stated he and his spouse, Kathy, have been “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the youngsters, households, and group members affected by this mindless act.”
The parade, held annually on the Sunday earlier than Thanksgiving, is sponsored by town’s Chamber of Commerce. This 12 months’s, the 59th, had the theme of “consolation and pleasure.”
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Kenosha, the place Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of prices stemming from the taking pictures of three males throughout unrest in that metropolis in August 2020.
Bauer reported from Madison, Wis. Related Press author Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.