By a Biometrica staffer
An SUV barrelled through barricades and drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha (a suburban town just 20 miles from Milwaukee, Wisconsin) in the early evening of Sunday, Nov. 21, killing at least five and injuring over 40 others. The police have not released information on the identities of those who were killed, as they are still working on informing the families.
Police said they are still collecting information, though a “person of interest” is in custody. Investigators are examining whether the SUV’s driver may have been fleeing from a crime when he crashed into the paradegoers, a law enforcement official briefed on the matter told The Associated Press. The investigators were questioning the person in custody about that incident, which the official described as an altercation involving a knife, the Associated Press report added.
But the investigation is still in its early stages and is continuing to develop, the official cautioned.
The entire gruesome event was captured on cellphone videos and the city’s livestream. As the maroon SUV sped on around 4:39 pm, an officer fired his gun to try and stall it, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said. He added that he did not know whether the driver was hit by the bullets, though he confirmed that no bystanders were.
Thompson also said that many people drove themselves to the hospital, meaning that victim count is still being tallied. One area hospital said that it is treating just over a dozen injured people, three of whom are in critical condition and four who are in serious condition, per reporting from CNN. A number of patients are also being treated at the Froedtert Hospital, a Level I trauma center that typically treats “the most critically ill patients.”
The White House said that President Joe Biden has been apprised of the situation and that the administration is in contact with state and local officials, as the situation develops. “The White House is closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible incident,” one official said, adding, “We have reached out to state and local officials to offer any support and assistance as needed.”
The annual parade that occurs the weekend before Thanksgiving had participants of all ages, ranging from toddlers all the way through to senior citizens. This year’s theme was “comfort and joy.” Local schools had entries from the cheer, dance, and band teams. Reports say that among those who were hit and injured were members of a “Dancing Grannies” club, comprising elderly ladies who meet to dance and perform at various parades. Also among the injured are a Catholic priest, multiple parishioners, and a group of Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren.
Monday’s classes have been canceled by the Waukesha school district, which is also providing counselors to students and staff who may be traumatized by the events witnessed. Witnesses who were at the scene and those who were watching the events on TV have described being “freaked out” and horrified by what they saw, especially as children were involved in the parade.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said, “Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration. I’m deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.”
Idaho Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife Kathy were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”