At least five people have been killed and 40 injured – including at least 12 children – after a speeding SUV plowed into a Christmas parade taking place in a suburban town near Milwaukee on Sunday.
A red Ford Escape broke through barriers in Waukesha, Wisconsin, around 4.40pm as the parade was taking place and drove at speed through crowds, sending bodies flying as horrified families watched helplessly.
Police say a ‘person of interest’ is now in custody, but that no arrests have been made. Chief Daniel Thompson said no motive has yet been established, but officers are not discounting terrorism. Officers are also looking into the possibility that the suspect was fleeing an earlier incident involving a knife when he reached the parade, NBC said.
Thompson said one officer fired at the vehicle in an unsuccessful bid to stop it, with witnesses saying it did not slow down even as it hit children and elderly people both participating in the parade and watching.
Dozens of pieces of footage – intended to capture joyous scenes from the annual event – ended up capturing the carnage instead, revealing the car traveled at least three blocks down the parade route before driving away.
A picture captured later at an unknown location showed what appeared to be the vehicle involved backed on to a driveway with the hood badly dented and bent up. It is unclear how the vehicle came to be there, and police have not revealed exactly how the suspect was arrested.
Corey Montiho, a Waukesha school district board member, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his daughter’s dance team was hit by the SUV.
‘They were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,’ he said. ‘My wife and two daughters were almost hit.
‘I saw bodies flying. I ran down the parade route to find my girls. Addison, my daughter, heard someone yell “car” and ran away. The girls right next to her were hit.
‘I was there. It was little kids and families… evil is real, fight it every chance you get.’
The incident comes just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha shooter, was acquitted of murder charges in the deaths of two men during the unrest that erupted last year in the wake of a police shooting of a black man. Kenosha is located about 55 miles south of Waukesha.
The Rittenhouse acquittal, which stoked division along political and racial lines, prompted local and national authorities to place security forces on high alert.
Terrifying video posted to social media shows a speeding red SUV collide into a group of people marching in the middle of the street during the annual holiday parade in Waukesha, some 20 miles west of downtown Milwaukee
The image above shows a vehicle that matches the description of the red Ford SUV which plowed into the parade. Police said the suspect’s vehicle was in custody and that they are looking for a person of interest
The incident comes just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse, the accused Kenosha shooter, was acquitted of murder charges in the deaths of two men during the unrest that erupted last year in the wake of a police shooting of a black man. Kenosha is located about 55 miles south of Waukesha
Witnesses said there were a large number of casualties near the intersection of Main and Barstow streets in downtown Waukesha on Sunday
Witnesses said that the paradegoers initially thought that the red SUV was part of the procession. It was only after the vehicle was running over people did they realize that something was wrong
Video posted to social media shows the red Ford SUV speeding by just a few feet away from a young girl who was dancing in the street during the parade in Waukesha on Sunday
Reports indicate that the driver plowed through barricades and slammed into a holiday parade, injuring some 20 people, among them elderly women. The driver is also alleged to have fired gunshots
The images above show victims lying on the ground after the red Ford SUV plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday
Locals tend to an injured paradegoer in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday night after the horrific incident
Timeline of Waukesha holiday parade tragedy
4pm: Annual holiday parade, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19 pandemic, gets underway in downtown Waukesha
4:39pm: Red SUV plows through barricades and mows down a large crowd of paradegoers, injuring at least 28 and killing several people along the parade route on Main Street going westbound
7:15pm: Waukesha police tell downtown residents to shelter in place
8:00pm: Law enforcement officials say they have recovered the suspect’s vehicle and that a ‘person of interest’ is in custody
10:00pm: Police said a total of 28 people were injured, including at least 12 children. Several died
00.00am: Officers confirm at least five people are dead and 40 injured. A ‘person of interest’ is in custody, but no arrests have been made
The head of the fire department said that 11 adults, including a priest, and 12 children were rushed to six different hospitals in the area. They include several elderly women who were part of a ‘Dancing Grannies’ float and members of a schoolgirls’ dance team, according to reports.
Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital in Milwaukee, said it was treating 15 patients. Aurora Medical Center-Summit, a hospital in Waukesha County, told CNN that it is treating 13 patients.
Three are listed in critical condition, four in serious condition and six in fair condition.
‘We are deeply saddened by today’s senseless tragedy and our hearts are with the Waukesha community,’ a statement from the hospital said.
Authorities will release information about fatalities after notifying next of kin.
Another video shows the speeding SUV narrowly miss a young girl who was dancing in the street as the out-of-control vehicle drove by just feet away. Several witnesses reported seeing small children laying on the ground after they were hit by the runaway SUV.
At around 7:15pm local time, the Waukesha Police Department sent a push alert to cell phones of residents in the area asking them to shelter in place ‘within a half-mile radius of the 5 points downtown.’
‘We have a person of interest that we are looking into at this time,’ Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson told reporters. Thompson said that the SUV rammed into the crowd at 4:39pm local time – 39 minutes after the parade started.
‘The Waukesha Christmas parade was taking place when a red SUV drove through the barricades westbound heading down Main Street…An officer did discharge his weapon at the suspect vehicle to try to stop the vehicle,’ Thompson said.
‘No bystanders were injured as a result of the weapon discharge. The officer involved has been with the department for six-and-a-half years.’
The shelter in place order remained in place as police investigated and cleared the scene.
‘What took place in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice,’ tweeted the state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Josh Kaul.
Witnesses said that the paradegoers initially thought that the red SUV was part of the procession. It was only after the vehicle sped up and began running over people, did they realize that something was wrong.
A stroller lays abandoned on the street after a vehicle plowed through the annual holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday
A broken children’s stroller lays on W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha after the tragedy on Sunday
Debris and candy canes left from crowds attending a holiday parade lies scattered along the route
Spectators’ chairs and children’s scooters are seen above at the crime scene in Waukesha on Sunday
A baby carriage and backpack was left completely deserted as people fled the area
The image above shows abandoned spectators’ chairs near the scene of the parade
Police and emergency vehicles arrive at the scene where an SUV plowed into a holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday
Debris litters the street at a crime scene in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
Law enforcement agencies are seen above near the area where paradegoers were rammed into by a speeding SUV
Police cordon off a roadway as emergency vehicles and crews arrive in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
A Salvation Army truck is seen above in Waukesha as investigators gathered clues at the scene
One entry in the parade, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, posted on its Facebook page that ‘members of the group and volunteers were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions.’
The post asked people to keep the Grannies and anyone else injured in their prayers.
The group’s profile describes them as a ‘group of grannies that meet once a week to practice routines for summer and winter parades.’
Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center studio, had about 70 girls in the parade ranging from as young as two being pulled in wagons to age 18.
Germain, whose own three-year-old daughter was in the parade, said he was driving at the head of their entry when he saw a maroon SUV that ‘just blazed right past us.’
A police officer came by on foot chasing after, he said. Germain said he jumped out of his own SUV and gathered the girls who were with him.
‘There were small children laying all over the road, there were police officers and EMTs doing CPR on multiple members of the parade,’ he said.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee released a statement confirming that parishioners, including children, were among those injured.
The children attend Waukesha Catholic School. The archdiocese said that one of its priests was also among the injured.
‘Our prayers are with the people who have been injured and killed during the tragic incident in Waukesha,’ Sandra Peterson, communication director for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said in a statement.
‘Among the injured are one of our Catholic priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children.
Pink circles have been sprayed throughout the street and surrounding a baby carriage while the main street is taped off in Waukesha
The image above shows the intersection of Barstow and Main streets in Waukesha on Sunday
A large police presence was seen along the parade route after the tragedy in Waukesha on Sunday night
Locals show their identifications so they can walk to their homes as police cordon off the area while they investigate
Investigators gather evidence at the scene of the horrific tragedy in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
Authorities place barricades blocking the road while investigators search for clues in Waukesha on Sunday
Local law enforcement officials set up a command post near the crime scene in downtown Waukesha on Sunday
The local police department was receiving assistance from state and federal law enforcement agencies
‘Please join us in prayer for all those involved, their families, and those who are traumatized from witnessing the horrible scene.’
The School District of Waukesha has canceled all schools tomorrow November 22nd, and will make a decision later to potentially close November 23rd.
‘As a result of this situation, school will be canceled on Monday, November 22, 2021, for all students in grades 4K – 12,’ the school district said in an email Sunday night.
‘Additionally, the District will have additional counselors available during the school day at all buildings for all students that may be in need of support services.’
The district added in its statement: ‘A decision on school for Tuesday will be determined during the day on Monday.
‘Our thoughts are with everyone impacted, with all who witnessed the event, and with our entire community.’
Mayor Shawn Reilly told WITI in Milwaukee that he does not believe there is any current danger to the public.
One video shows the SUV striking what appears to be members of a marching band and several others along the parade route before driving on.
The sound of the marching band heard before the SUV approaches is replaced by screams.
Video circulating on social media shows the red SUV driving at unusually high speed through the downtown Waukesha area.
The vehicle sped through the holiday parade even as people participating in the procession waved flags. Dozens of people were injured near the intersection of Main and Barstow streets in downtown Waukesha, according to reports.
Moments after the SUV drives by, screams can be heard in the background. A law enforcement official is then seen giving chase after the SUV.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV come speeding into the area.
Chairs are left abandoned after a car plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha
The street is cordoned off after the horrific incident left several people dead and at least 23 injured on Sunday
Holiday decorations frame a police officer in downtown Waukesha on Sunday
Police officers walk beside debris found along the parade route in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
A lounge chair and other debris are seen above along the parade route in Waukesha on Sunday
The official social media account of the City of Waukesha indicates that the parade started at 4pm local time. The parade route began at the intersection of Main Street and Pleasant Street. It starts westward down Main Street and ends at Wisconsin Avenue. The SUV broke through barricades at the start of the parade route on Main Street. Dozens of injured were seen on the ground at the intersection of Main and Barstow
Among the injured were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies (seen in the above file photo)
A massive police presence was seen in downtown Waukesha just moments after the horrific incident on Sunday evening
Waukesha police sent a push notification to local residents of downtown asking them to shelter in place
‘Then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,’ Tenorio said.
‘And then, and then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there, there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.’
Tenorio said he saw about 10 people, children and adults, on the ground who appeared to have been hit by the vehicle.
‘It just happened so fast,’ he said. ‘It was pretty horrifying.’
Law enforcement officials are urging locals to avoid the downtown Waukesha area as the investigation is ongoing. Police have also set up a family reunification location at Metro Transit Center near Bank Street.
Video posted on social media shows dozens of emergency vehicles responding to the scene in downtown Waukesha on Sunday night.
‘There were lots of families, lots of small children there. A red SUV came running down the street, hitting a lot of people in the parade,’ Kaylee Staral, an eyewitness who was at the parade with her mother and stepfather, told CNN.
Staral told The New York Times that she and her family were standing at the curb outside a store when the red SUV sped through in the middle of the parade.
Staral, an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, said the SUV plowed into the paradegoers between 20 and 30 minutes after the festivities began.
‘There were a lot of screams,’ Staral said. ‘We thought maybe it was Santa, but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people.’
Moments later, Staral said that there were ‘multiple people on the ground.’ She later clarified that there were some 20 people on the ground.
Staral also said police reported that gunshots were fired, but ‘I cannot confirm that for you.’
She said that it wasn’t clear if the driver was heard saying anything since he was ‘going very fast’ and that there was ‘a lot of screaming.’
Staral said that while it is unclear if the driver was intentionally trying to mow down people, the car ‘was going very fast and it was in the middle of the parade.’
‘It’s not like they somehow missed that there was a parade happening,’ she said.
Staral said that the annual holiday parade was held for the first time in two years. Last year’s parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another witness tweeted: ‘Right in front of my family, this man drives through the parade hitting as many people as possible while shooting out the window.
‘He ran over several elderly women who were dancing in the parade and many others please pray for everyone in Waukesha.’
The witness added: ‘Waukesha has some of the nicest families and people in this country.
‘This parade is one of the most heartwarming events of the year, this is not the America my little cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, ANYBODY deserves.
‘WHAT THE F***.’
Angela O’Boyle lives on the fifth floor of an apartment building that overlooks the parade route.
She told CNN that she was on her balcony watching the procession.
‘The next thing I heard were screams and turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just pass my balcony at that point,’ she said.
She added: ‘It hit at least two people right away and rolled over them.
‘And then continued down the road to People’s Park, which is at the end of the block – and then kept going, it didn’t stop.’
According to Boyle, people screamed and parents yelled out their children’s names.
‘It was not something that I wanted to see.’
A television news reporter for Fox6 TV tweeted photos from the scene.
The reporter, Sam Kraemer, tweeted: ‘The Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office incident command post is on site.
‘There are bag chairs and handfuls of candy stranded all along Main Street. Another man told us he heard a handful of shots and ran for cover.
‘He was almost hit by the SUV as it pulled through.’
The official social media account of the City of Waukesha indicates that the parade started at 4pm local time.
The parade route began at the intersection of Main Street and Pleasant Street. It starts westward down Main Street and ends at Wisconsin Avenue.
The parade was livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page.
‘Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act,’ Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers wrote on Twitter.
Several people who attended the parade are seen in the aftermath of the incident in Waukesha on Sunday
Dan Thompson, the chief of the Waukesha Police Department, said that the suspect’s vehicle is in custody and that police are questioning a person of interest
‘I’m grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information.’
The most senior public official in Waukesha County released a statement saying that he was at the event with his wife.
‘This is an unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions,’ Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow said.
‘Keep the families affected in your thoughts as we work to offer whatever support we can.
‘I have been in contact with Mayor Reilly and offered any resources the county could provide.
‘I have also spoken with the Governor who offers his prayers and assistance. Right now, we are still learning about what happened.
‘This is an active investigation, and all updates tonight will come from our law enforcement partners.
‘I had just finished participating in the parade with my wife when I noticed police sirens.
‘Shortly afterward, I learned that a vehicle drove through the parade route injuring many people.
‘Please pray for our community tonight after the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade.’
Senator Tammy Baldwin, who represents Wisconsin, tweeted: ‘The horrific violence at the Waukesha Christmas Parade is just heartbreaking. Please keep the victims in your prayers tonight.’
Police and emergency personnel work on a crime scene in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
At least one person was killed, according to local reports coming out of Wisconsin on Sunday
Police investigate at the scene of a crash involving multiple people and injuries at a holiday parade
A police officer examines debris near the scene of the incident at the holiday parade in Waukesha on Sunday
The image above shows what appear to be two folding chairs and thermos bottles used by spectators at the parade
Police and emergency personnel work on a crime scene in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
Investigators gather evidence at the scene of Sunday’s horrific incident in Waukesha, Wisconsin
A police officer cordons off a crime scene near the area where a red SUV plowed into a crowd of paradegoers
Police and emergency personnel work on a crime scene in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday
Police officers are seen above near the area where holiday paradegoers were injured when a red SUV rammed into them in Waukesha on Sunday
Senator Ron Johnson also released a statement, tweeting: ‘My thoughts and prayers for everyone injured in Waukesha’s Christmas parade.
‘My gratitude for all law enforcement, medical personnel, and community members who are responding.’
The White House on Sunday said it was monitoring the situation. President Joe Biden was briefed by aides on the incident, according to a White House official.
‘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,’ a White House official said.
‘We have reached out to state and local officials to offer any support and assistance as needed.’
Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader, tweeted: ‘Our hearts are broken tonight watching the terrible news coming out of Waukesha.
‘Praying for the victims and every family impacted – and for the speed and fortitude of our law enforcement to find the monsters who did this.’
The Green Bay Packers professional football team also released a statement on Sunday.
‘Our thoughts are with the community of Waukesha this evening and those affected by the terrible, senseless act that took place at the holiday parade,’ the Packers said in a statement.
‘We are grateful for the first responders and others who assisted the injured and comforted those in need.
‘We share our condolences with those who lost loved ones.
‘As a statewide community, we must all come together to support each other in these difficult times.’
The NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks also released a statement expressing anger over the tragedy.
‘We are devastated and angry by the senseless and horrific act in Waukesha today and send our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones,’ the Bucks said in a statement.
‘Our gratitude goes out to the first responders and those who valiantly helped to save others at the scene.
‘What we witnessed today is beyond comprehension, so we encourage the Wisconsin community to support each other during this sad time.’
Waukesha tragedy comes as Wisconsin looks to heal from Kyle Rittenhouse trial: Teen acquitted in Kenosha shootings says he supports BLM movement and that his case had ‘nothing to with race’
The tragedy in Kenosha on Sunday night came just two days after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of murder in last year’s fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third during unrest triggered by the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake.
Rittenhouse on Sunday said that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and insisted that his case had nothing to do with race, as protests continue over his acquittal in Kenosha, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
‘This case has nothing to do with race. It had nothing to do with race, had to do with the right to self-defense,’ Rittenhouse told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an interview filmed on Sunday.
‘I’m not a racist person, I support the BLM movement and peacefully demonstrating,’ the teen added in an advance clip of the interview, which is set to air on Monday night.
The teen spoke out as protests continued across the country over the not-guilty verdict, including in Kenosha, where marchers denounced the trial’s outcome as racist.
In a partial transcript of the interview provided to DailyMail.com, Rittenhouse also slammed the prosecution in his case, after a jury agreed he acted in justifiable self-defense in acquitting him of all charges.
‘I believe there’s a lot of prosecutorial misconduct, not just in my case but in other cases,’ said Rittenhouse. It’s just amazing to see how much a prosecutor can take advantage of someone.’
Kyle Rittenhouse has said that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and insisted that his case had nothing to do with race, in an interview with Tucker Carlson due to air on Monday night
Rittenhouse was dressed in a suit and tie for the interview as the family dined at Smokin’ Jerry’s Tiki Hut Bar & Grill in Placida, Florida on Sunday afternoon
Protesters march around Kenosha near the court house on Sunday, the third day of protests over the verdict
Rittenhouse also described how he felt immediately after the shootings, including one confrontation with a pursuer who chased him with a gun.
‘I tell everybody there what happened. I said I had to do it. I was just attacked. I was dizzy, I was vomiting, I couldn’t breathe,’ he told Carlson.
Rittenhouse killed two men and wounded a third during confrontations amid anti-police protests in Kenosha last August, and testified that he acted in self-defense.
The case has polarized the nation, with furious accusations from the left that both Rittenhouse and the acquittal are racist, although he and the people who were shot were all white.
The teen’s interview with Tucker Carlson was believed to have been filmed on Sunday on Boca Grande Island, and on Sunday afternoon, Rittenhouse and his family were spotted having brunch in the area.
Rittenhouse was dressed in a suit and tie for the interview as the family dined at Smokin’ Jerry’s Tiki Hut Bar & Grill in Placida, Florida on Sunday afternoon.
The full Fox News interview will air on Carlson’s show Monday night, and the host’s unusual access to the teen was revealed after footage emerged that his team had been embedded with Rittenhouse during the trial.
In addition to Monday’s interview, online subscription service Fox Nation plans to air a documentary series on the case next month.
Rittenhouse’s trial attorney, Mark Richards, has said the Fox documentary crew was embedded with Rittenhouse’s team against his wishes, and suggested that the access was arranged by donors who contributed to his defense.
The teen’s interview with Tucker Carlson was believed to have been filmed on Sunday on Boca Grande Island
On Saturday a Fox News executive said the network did not pay Rittenhouse’s family for any special access during Rittenhouse’s murder trial or after his acquittal.
Justin Wells, senior executive producer of Tucker Carlson Tonight, told the AP that no payment was made for access, footage rights, legal fees or any other purpose to Rittenhouse or his family.
David Hancock, a spokesman for the Rittenhouse family, also said any potential payment by Fox ‘was never offered and it was never asked for and it was never discussed.’
The intention of the documentary is to memorialize the experience that Rittenhouse had during the trial and to show people who he really is, he said.
Protests over the verdict continued on Sunday in Kenosha, where a group of around 150 people gathered in the Civic Center Park outside the courthouse where Rittenhouse was cleared to protest the verdict.
BLM activists gather near the Kenosha County Courthouse before marching through the downtown. Several heavily armed people stood in the square among protesters keeping watch
Protestors gathering in opposition to the not guilty verdict in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse near the Kenosha County courthouse in Kenosha on Sunday
Speakers warned of an economic boycott to force social change before marching some eight blocks around the lakeside city.
Eric Jordan and his 16-year-old daughter Jade walked with the marchers carrying assault-style rifles. ‘I’m an open-carry, Second Amendment-type guy,’ Jordan told DailyMail.com. ‘I carry when I pick oranges.
‘Everybody knows that I don’t go anywhere without it.’
Protestors carrying signs such as ‘Self Defense Is Not a Deliberate Headshot,’ ‘The Whole System is Guilty,’ and ‘F**k Kyle N His Freedom.’
They shouted ‘No Justice, No Peace,’ and ‘Say Their Names: Anthony and Jo Jo,’ referring to Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosebaum who were shot dead by Rittenhouse during protests against a police shooting in the town in August 2020.
Protests over the verdict continued on Sunday in Kenosha, where a group of around 150 people gathered in the Civic Center Park outside the courthouse where Rittenhouse was cleared to protest the verdict
Chicago: Over a thousand demonstrators gathered at Federal Plaza in Chicago on Saturday to protest the acquittal
Chicago: Reverend Jesse Jackson (center), marches in protest of the not guilty verdict on Saturday
New York: About 200 protesters rally outside Barclays Center and march along Flatbush Avenue after Rittenhouse acquittal
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was due to join the march but did not attend in the end.
In his place was Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director of Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, who said Jackson was talking to Congressional leaders about the possibility of charging Rittenhouse federally.
The protests in Kenosha have thus far remained peaceful, but in New York five were arrested on riot charges Friday after storming through a quiet neighborhood and vandalizing cars.