WAUKESHA, Wis. — An SUV sped through barricades and into a parade of Christmas marchers in suburban Milwaukee on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40 others in a horrifying scene captured by the city’s livestream and the cellphones of onlookers.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said a person was in custody, as was the SUV, but he did not give any indication of motive.

One video shows a woman screaming, “Oh my God!” repeatedly after a group of girls wearing Santa hats and dancing with white pompoms is struck. Another shows the SUV plowing into members of a marching band, their music replaced with terrified screams.

The city of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it could confirm at least five died and more than 40 were injured, while noting that it was still collecting information. The city’s statement also noted that many people took themselves to hospitals. The city did not release any additional information about those who died.

A Catholic priest, multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren were among those injured, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee spokeswoman Sandra Peterson said.

Police had custody of the vehicle, Thompson said. The investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

“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.

As the SUV broke through barricades at the annual parade, a Waukesha police officer fired his gun in an attempt to stop the vehicle, Thompson said. No bystanders were injured, and Thompson said he did not know if the driver was struck by the officer’s bullets.

One video shows the moment the SUV broke through the barricades and the sound of what appears to be several gunshots. Another video shows a young child dancing in the street as the SUV speeds by, just a few feet from her, before it hurtles into parade participants a few hundred feet ahead.

The video of the pompom dancers ends with a group of people tending to one of the girls who is on the ground.

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 pompoms 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. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”

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 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 2 being pulled in wagons to age 18. Germain, whose own 3-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.

Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, said he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV come speeding into the area.

“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio said. “And after that, we just heard deafening cries and screams from the crowd, from the people at the parade. And people started rushing, running away with tears in their eyes crying.”

The Waukesha school district canceled classes Monday and said in a notice on its website that extra counselors would be on hand for students and staff. The parade’s list of entries included cheer, dance and band entries associated with district schools.

Gov. 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.”

The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th of the event that’s held each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from the shooting of three men during unrest in that city in August 2020.

(7) comments

Mike Johnson

BLM speaks out......"Black Lives Matter activist Vaun Mayes suggested the Waukesha Christmas parade attack on Sunday might be linked to retaliation for the Kyle Rittenhouse case verdict.“I don’t know. Now we’ll have to wait and see because they do have somebody in custody. We may have to wait and see what they say about why this happened,” Mayes said. “But it sounds possible that the revolution has started in Wisconsin. It started with this Christmas parade.”


Richard Reinders

The perp fresh out of jail on the 2nd Nov. for violent crimes, with warrants in Nevada for violent crimes with a long history of violent crimes with a $1000 bail got into another violent crime that he was running from when he came across the parade and with total disregard of life or decency drove through the crowd. So at this point I doubt it was BLM motivated. There is a lot more investigation to be done if the DA wants to or even cares. All BLM has to do is look at the Coffee case to see that justice is not one sided.

Mike Johnson

[thumbup]Yep, but BLM is going to try to make the connection, it's what they do.....racism.

Richard Reinders

The person behind this is a major criminal and was just released and probably needed to stay in jail. If I was to pull a Biden, CNN, MSNBC I would jump to conclusion without fact that it was motivated by BLM and racist because the person was black. But I don’t know any such thing and will wait for the facts. Lets see how many false stories that come out of this one in the name of selling papers or stirring up one group or another.

Jim Klukkert

With his disparging references to "Biden, CNN, MSNBC ... [and] BLM," it's a good thing Richard Reinders is not actively working to "stir up one group or another."

Richard Reinders

The point I was making was the rush too judgement by public figures and media convicting someone before the evidence has been laid out just to get votes or sell papers. The one thing that is coming out of this story is the mistake this country has made with bail reform.

Lynn Hansz

Klukkert is a typical Leftie...accusing others of stirring things up when he, BLM, Antifa and Biden are all stirring things to the max. Good grief, Biden even called innocent Kyle a White Supremacist on TV while the trial was on-going. Biden and the rest should brace for law suits. Well deserved law suits too.

He throws disparaging references himself and does not want a civil discussion between people who have different opinions. Many NM news articles are highly one sided. When that happens...and both sides are not shown...its the entrance ramp to dictatorship.

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