Five dead, more than 40 injured after vehicle passed through Wisconsin parade

  • SUV drives through afternoon Christmas parade in Waukesha
  • Person of interest in police custody, no other threat – police
  • Not sure if the incident is terrorism-related – police

WAUKESHA, Wis., Nov. 21 (Reuters) – Five people were killed and more than 40 injured after an SUV rushed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wis., On Sunday, knocking down dozens of people, including young people waving pom poms and a group of “Dancing Grannies”.

“At the moment, we can confirm that five people have died and more than 40 are injured,” the Waukesha Police Department said on its Facebook page. “However, these numbers may change as we collect more information.”

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson told reporters earlier that a person of interest was in custody and a vehicle was recovered after the incident. in the city, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Milwaukee.

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It was not known if the incident was terrorism-related, but there was no longer a danger and a previous shelter-in-place order in the city of about 72,000 people had been lifted, Thompson said.

Video posted online showed a red sport utility vehicle speeding through the parade, appearing to run over more than a dozen people before the crowds came out of the sidewalks to offer assistance.

Thompson said an officer shot at the vehicle in an attempt to stop the carnage. Another video on social media appeared to show police shooting the vehicle as it crashed through barriers on the street. Police did not believe shots were fired from the vehicle, Thompson added, contrary to previous reports.

Belen Santamaria, her husband and their three-year-old daughter were planning to join the parade with their Catholic church. But Santamaria, a 39-year-old Mexican factory worker, woke up with a sore back on Sunday, so the family instead watched the procession from the sidewalk.

“The SUV went full speed,” Santamaria said. “Then I started to hear people screaming.”

She hid in a restaurant with their daughter while her husband, Jesus Ochoa, a 39-year-old delivery man, ran forward to try to help the injured. He said he heard from other members of their church that around 10 members of the congregation, mostly Latinos and adults and children, were injured.

“I was going to be there, walking,” Santamaria said. “The SUV would have hit us too.”


A red SUV drives past participants moments before jumping into the crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S., in this still from a social media video from November 21, 2021. CITY OF WAUKESHA / Facebook / via REUTERS

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A woman told Fox6 television station in Milwaukee that the SUV struck a dance team made up of girls aged 9 to 15. She said the immediate reaction was silence, followed by screaming, running and checking the injured, Fox6 reported. A video on social media showed small groups surrounding injured girls with white pom poms strewn about.

A witness said the driver also struck a group of “Dancing Grannies” and at least one person knocked over the hood of the SUV, according to WISN-TV of Milwaukee, a subsidiary of ABC.

“Band members and volunteers have been affected and we are awaiting information on their conditions,” the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said on their Facebook page. “Please keep the Grannies, all who are injured and all who have witnessed this horrible event in your thoughts and prayers. “

Another witness estimated that the SUV was traveling at around 40 mph (64 km / h) when it struck the crowd marching on the street, the TV station said.

“As we walked back between the buildings… we saw an SUV drive through, just put the pedal on the metal and speed down the parade route. And then we heard a loud bang, and screams. deafening and screams of people hit by the vehicle, ”Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis city councilor, told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The local CBS affiliate then showed on Twitter a photo of what appeared to be the involved red SUV with its creased hood and front fender hanging down, parked in a driveway.

President Joe Biden was briefed by aides of the events, a White House official said.

“The White House is closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by this terrible incident. We have reached out to state and local authorities to offer any support and assistance as needed.”

Photos and videos of Waukesha circulating on Twitter showed police cars and ambulances swarming a street adorned with Christmas lights the day after the incident, which occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. GMT). People bundled up against the cold huddled on the sidewalks as night fell.

The Wisconsin Children’s Hospital said on Twitter that it had received 15 patients as of 8 p.m., with no deaths reported at that time.

Schools would remain closed for 4K-12 grades on Monday and additional counselors would be available for students who may need support services, the district school superintendent said.

In 2015, four people were killed and 46 injured in Stillwater, Oklahoma, when a woman walked into a crowd watching the return parade of a football team.

A truck was deliberately driven to a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany in 2016, killing 12 people in an attack linked to ISIS.

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Reporting by Eric Beech and Alexandra Ulmer; Additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar, David Morgan and Phil Stewart; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Himani Sarkar, Peter Cooney and Richard Pullin

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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