UPDATE: On November 23, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks succumbed from his injuries, bringing the death toll of this horrific tragedy to 6.
A peaceful Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin quickly turned into a scene of great tragedy when a red SUV plowed into a crowd of celebrators just before 5 PM on Sunday, Nov. 21.
The parade, which celebrated its 59th year, is an annual event held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The Waukesha parade involved a wide variety of groups, including a marching band and a children’s dancing team. Video footage from the scene showed the vehicle speeding down the parade route and then crashing into the crowd while a band was performing.
Jaymz Touchstone, whose daughter’s band was playing at the time of the incident, described the horror he witnessed that evening. “I tried to pursue the car. I couldn’t. I turned around and came back and started to render first aid to the people there,” Touchstone said. “The kid that I was rendering first aid to…his feet were crushed. They ran over both of his legs. He hit his legs, got trapped under the tire.” he said in an interview with NBC News.
According to ABC News, several law enforcement sources explained that based on video evidence and interviews, the driver was not aiming to hit the parade but rather fleeting from an earlier incident.
“At this time, we can confirm that 5 people are deceased and over 40 are injured. However, these numbers may change as we collect additional information.” The Waukesha Police Department said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “The scene is still fluid, and the investigation is ongoing. The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured. We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers.”
Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson confirmed at a news conference that Sunday evening that a person of interest had been taken into custody. That person of interest is Darrell Brooks, a 39-year-old man from Wisconsin. Brooks has yet to be charged with any crime in connection to the incident and has not been named a suspect as of yet.
The investigation into the event is still ongoing.