Five killed and 40 injured, including kids, when SUV plows into Christmas parade in Wisconsin
( NYPost )
A driver blew past police barricades and plowed into a group of people marching in a Christmas parade in Wisconsin on Sunday — killing five people and injuring dozens of others, including children, officials said.
The carnage unfolded at the annual celebration in the small city of Waukesha shortly after 4:40 p.m. local time and left more than 40 people injured, city officials said. At least 12 of the victims are children.
A person of interest was in custody and police have not ruled out terrorism as a motive, according to Police Chief Daniel Thompson.
“Today we experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said at a Sunday night press briefing.
“A parade is a celebration for our community. Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration,” the mayor said.
Witnesses had reported that shots were fired by the driver, but police later clarified that an officer discharged their weapon at the vehicle.
No bystanders were stuck by the gunfire, Thompson said.
“At the Waukesha Holiday parade and a car just broke through the police line, plowing through pedestrians and firing rounds out the window,” Zach Heisler tweeted. “Family and I are safe. Happened 20 feet in front of us.”
One witness reported that the driver ran over “several elderly women,” part of the group The Dancing Grannies, who perform at the town’s holiday parade annually.
Another witness said that four of the Dancing Grannies were on the ground motionless after they were hit, according to Courtney Sisk of WISN.
”Right in front of my family, this man drives through the parade hitting as many people as possible while shooting out the window,” a parade attendee tweeted. “He ran over several elderly women who were dancing in the parade and many others please pray for everyone in Waukesha.
A horrifying video caught a bird’s-eye-view of the alleged attack. A red vehicle approaches the rear of what appears to be a marching band before accelerating and smashing into paraders and spectators.
The driver appears to run over at least one individual as the crowd begins screaming in terror. Hysteria ensues as people begin fleeing in all directions before the driver speeds off.
Photos appear to show police investigating the suspected dark red SUV used in the incident, parked in a driveway with a heavily dented hood, according to CBS 58.
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said that he believes there is no longer a danger to the public, according to Fox 6.
Family reunification location is at the Waukesha Command Post located on Barstow between Corrina & Bank Street, police said.
A heavy police presence is reported downtown where cops are asking the public to avoid the area.
The city was live-streaming the parade on Facebook. At exactly 20:40 into the stream, the red SUV described by witnesses can be seen speeding past. Screams can be heard as an officer can be seen running in the direction as people point in the direction, confused. A police car speeds in that direction two minutes later.
Wisconsin senator Tammy Baldwin offered her condolences for all of the victims in a tweet on Sunday.
“The horrific violence at the Waukesha Christmas Parade is just heartbreaking,” she said. “Please keep the victims in your prayers tonight.”