WAUKESHA, Wisconsin – An SUV driver crossed a police line and headed for a parade of Christmas walkers on Sunday, hitting more than 20 adults and children in a gruesome scene captured by the city’s livestream and cellphones spectators.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said “some” people had been killed but would not give an exact number. One person was in custody, he said, but gave no indication of motive.
A video shows a woman shouting, “Oh my God! on several occasions after a group of girls wearing Santa hats and dancing with white pom poms were hit. Another shows the SUV hitting the members of a marching band, their music replaced by screams of terror
Fire chief Steven Howard said 11 adults and 12 children were injured and taken to hospitals by his department. It is not known how many more injured were taken to hospital by others.
Police also had custody of the vehicle, Thompson said. The investigation was ongoing.
As the SUV passed the barricades, a Waukesha police officer fired his gun in an attempt to stop the vehicle, Thompson said. No passerby was injured and Thompson said he was unsure whether the driver was hit by the officer’s bullets.
Video shows the moment the SUV passed the barricades and the sound of what appears to be several gunshots.
The video taken when the pom-pom dancers were hit ends with a group of people tending to one of the girls who is on the ground.
Corey Montiho, a board member for the Waukesha School District, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his daughter’s dance team was hit by the SUV.
“They were pom poms and shoes and they were spilling hot chocolate all over the place. I had to go from crumpled body to crumpled body to find my daughter,” he said. “My wife and two daughters were almost touched. Please pray for everyone. Please pray.”
Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center studio, had around 70 girls in the parade, ranging from 2 years old from trolleys to 18 years old. Germain, whose own 3-year-old daughter was in the parade, said he was driving at the head of their driveway when he saw a brown SUV that “just blasted right in front of us.” A policeman walked past afterwards, he said. Germain said he jumped out of his own SUV and rounded up the girls who were with him.
“There were young children lying all over the road, there were police and paramedics doing CPR on several members of the parade,” he said.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis city councilor who is running as Wisconsin state treasurer, said he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV rush into the area.
“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio said. “And after that, we just heard deafening screams and screams from the crowd, from the people in the parade. And the people started to rush, running away with tears in their eyes, crying.”
Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife, Kathy, “are praying for Waukesha tonight and for all the children, families and community members affected by this senseless act.”
Waukesha County Director Paul Farrow, who was present at the parade but left just before the incident, called it an “unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome two extremely difficult years and resume our cherished traditions. vacation “.
The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th of the event which takes place each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on Friday of charges related to the shooting of three men during the unrest in that city in August 2020.
___ Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press reporter Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.
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