wisconsin:-suspect-named-after-car-ploughs-into-waukesha-christmas-parade
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Media caption,

Footage of the parade shows a red SUV driving into a school marching band at high speed

Officials have identified a man taken into custody after a speeding vehicle ploughed into Christmas parade in the US state of Wisconsin, US media report.

Sources told US outlets Darrell Edward Brooks Jr, 39, drove the red SUV that hit and killed at least five people and injured over 40 others in Waukesha.

School children and a dance troupe of grannies are believed to be among the victims of Sunday’s tragedy.

Police declined to confirm or deny the identity of the suspect to the BBC.

The incident does not appear “at this time” to be an act of terrorism, an official said earlier.

Warning: This article contains upsetting content.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper reported Mr Brooks is currently facing at least five criminal charges – including for domestic abuse and battery – and had been released from jail on bond just two days earlier. BBC News has also reviewed the records belonging to the alleged suspect.

In a statement on Monday, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said the bail recommendation in Mr Brooks’ open court case was “inappropriately low in light of the nature of recent charges and the pending charges” against him.

Mr Brooks is reportedly from the city of Milwaukee, about 24 km east of Waukesha.

A law enforcement official familiar with the early findings of the investigation told the BBC’s US partner CBS News that the suspect is believed to have been fleeing another scene – possibly a knife fight – when he ran into people at the parade.

Eighteen children were admitted to hospital after the incident, the Children’s Wisconsin paediatric hospital told reporters on Monday.

Care providers described the incident as one of the state’s largest mass casualty events involving children in recent history. Physicians said some children sustained serious head injuries and broken bones.

The injured range in age from three to 16 and include three sets of siblings, medical staff said. Ten children required treatment in the intensive care unit.

Local resident Angelito Tenorio told the Journal Sentinel he had just finished marching in the parade when the SUV “put the pedal to the metal and just [started] zooming full speed along the parade route” at about 16:40 (22:40 GMT) on Sunday.

“Then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,” he said.

Corey Montiho said his daughter’s dance team was hit by the SUV.

“There 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 told the paper.

Sarah Saldivar, who was at the parade with her two young children, told CBS News she saw “a red blur” and then saw “little girls flying through the air”.

The parade in Waukesha – a community of about 72,000 located to the west of Milwaukee – is traditionally held every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and includes fancy dress, floats, dancers and marching bands. This year’s theme was “comfort and joy”.

Families lined the sides of the road to watch the event, which was returning after a year’s absence due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One video shared on social media shows the car crashing at high speed through street barriers, while another shows the vehicle driving into what looks like a group of musicians.

Police officers ran down the street during the incident, telling people to take shelter in shops. Police chief Dan Thompson told reporters that officers had fired at the car to try to stop it.

Officers later said they had recovered a “suspect vehicle” and a person of interest was in custody, but gave no further details.

Jason Kellner told the New York Times newspaper he had just watched his son go past with his school marching band when the car came towards the crowd and “started mowing people down”.

“I’ve never felt a worse feeling; wondering what I’m going to find when I get to my kid,” he said.

Mr Kellner found his son standing unharmed at the side of the road, but saw several injured people and pulled a bloody saxophone off the street.

Another witness told Milwaukee’s Fox6 TV station that there was silence, followed by screaming, running and checking on those injured after the vehicle hit a dance team of girls aged between about nine and 15.

Image source, City of Waukesha/Facebook via Reuters

Image caption,

Video posted online showed the vehicle as it was about to hit the parade in Waukesha

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said some of its members “were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions”.

“Please keep the Grannies, all those injured, and all those who witnessed this horrible event in your thoughts and prayers,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said one of its priests, multiple parishioners and students at a local Catholic school were among the injured.

Photos of a red SUV with a crumpled bonnet parked in a driveway were posted on Twitter by TV station CBS 58.

Officials in Waukesha warned that the number of fatalities and injuries could change as additional information is collected. They said some people had transported themselves to local hospitals.

Image source, JESUS OCHOA/via REUTERS

Image caption,

Emergency responders and passers-by attended to injured people

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the incident as a “horrible, senseless tragedy”.

“I am deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache,” he said.

The White House has said President Joe Biden is being regularly updated on the incident and has offered support to local officials.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff across the state in honour of the victims.

Waukesha’s public schools will be closed on Monday, and counselling services have been made available to those affected.

A community fund has been created to help victims of the incident.

Were you at the parade? Did you witness what happened? Email haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

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