Man charged with 5 homicide counts in deadly Waukesha crash

A small child takes part in a candlelight vigil Monday night in downtown Waukesha, Wis. Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Darrell Brooks Jr. with intentional homicide in the deaths of five people who were killed when he drove his SUV into a Christmas parade that also left 62 people injured.

(AP) — Prosecutors in Wisconsin on Tuesday charged a man with intentional homicide in the deaths of five people who were killed when an SUV was driven into a Christmas parade Sunday in Waukesha that also left 62 people injured, including many children.

Prosecutors said a sixth person, a child, has died and more charges are pending against Darrell Brooks Jr.

Conviction on first-degree intentional homicide carries a mandatory life sentence, Wisconsin’s stiffest penalty.

An 8-year-old boy, Jackson Sparks, died on Tuesday, according to his GoFundMe page. He was walking in the parade along with his brother, who is still hospitalized. The other five people who were killed were adults.

“This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the page’s organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote.

Brooks made his initial appearance in court Tuesday. He could be heard crying during the proceeding, leaning over with his head nearly in his lap, his attorney resting a hand on his back.

The city’s livestream video and bystander video captured the chaotic scene when an SUV sped along the parade route and into the crowd. Several of those injured remain in critical condition.

According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told police that the vehicle “appeared to be intentionally moving side to side,” with no attempt to slow down or stop as it struck multiple people and sent bodies and objects flying.

A detective — wearing police insignia and a neon orange safety vest — stepped in front of Brooks’ vehicle and pounded on the hood, shouting “Stop!” several times but Brooks drove past him, according to the complaint.

A uniformed police officer who saw Brooks’ SUV traveling toward the parade route also tried to get his attention, yelling “Stop, stop the vehicle!” several times but was also ignored. Another police officer shot at the vehicle, striking it three times as it entered the parade route.

Brooks had been freed on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November in which he’s accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors are investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low. Cash bail on the latest charges is set at $5 million.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier when he drove into the parade route.

Brooks has been charged with crimes more than a dozen times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster.

“We have a gentleman that has a huge background, via multiple states,” said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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