A driver plowed through a Christmas parade, killing several people, authorities said. The aftermath tragically rocked the Wisconsin city of Waukesha.
A red SUV drove through the barricades during the Christmas parade, Police Chief Daniel Thompson said, during a press conference on Sunday. The driver was going westbound on Main Street by Gaspar Avenue, he said. This vehicle struck more than 20 people, he said. According to Thompson, the investigation was still “fluid,” and he offered no exact number of deaths. He declined to specify the nature of these fatalities, citing family notification.
“Some of the individuals were children, and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident,” he said. “We will not be releasing information on fatalities at this time while we are working on notifying the family members of the deceased.”
Fire Chief Steve Howard said firefighters took 11 adults and 12 “pediatric patients” to six area hospitals. Police and family took others to the hospital, authorities said.
An officer opened fire at the suspect vehicle to try to stop it, but struck no bystanders, Thompson said. The chief identified the official as a 6-and-a-half-year veteran of the department. They did not believe there were shots fired from the suspect vehicle, he said.
Thompson only mentioned having a person of interest in the case, and said they did not know if this incident was terrorism.
Sources said authorities are looking into whether the driver and anyone else inside were fleeing another crime when driving into the parade, according to NBC reporters Tom Winter and Jonathan Dienst. Reportedly, the driver seemed to have been fleeing a stabbing.
Four people briefed on the investigation say law enforcement is examining whether or not the vehicle and its occupant(s) were fleeing another crime when they ran into the parade.
Those officials stress it is very early in the investigation and facts may change. (2/2)
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) November 22, 2021
Several LE sources say preliminary: Wisconsin incident appears to be vehicle fleeing a separate crime scene (stabbing) when it plowed into parade. One person in custody. Investigation ongoing but so far no initial link to terror or the recent Rittenhouse verdict w/@tom_winter
— jonathan dienst (@jonathan4ny) November 22, 2021
A reporter asked Thompson a question in which she mentioned the SUV driving through a school marching band. She asked which school.
“I couldn’t even tell you what band was playing at that time,” the chief said.
The School District of Waukesha canceled school for Monday for all students in 4K (4-year-old kindergarten) to 12th grade. They said they will decide tomorrow if they will also cancel school for Tuesday.
“Several of our administrative staff and principals met this evening following the tragic event that occurred at the City of Waukesha Christmas Parade,” said the joint statement from superintendent Dr. James Sebert and deputy superintendent Dr. Joe Koch. “At this time, we are working with the police department to more fully comprehend all of the tragic details of this unfortunate event. As a result of this situation, school will be canceled on Monday, November 22, 2021, for all students in grades 4K – 12. 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.”
Below you can you see video of what is purportedly the red SUV driving through the parade. The first appears to show the vehicle striking no one, but the second shows the actual collisions, albeit in censored form.
Either way, please note that both videos are disturbing.
Roads will remain closed at least overnight, police said. They asked that people stay away from the scene. They also highlighted resources, including for people for people trying to get back in touch with loved ones, or access areas where the roads are closed. From cops:
• If you live in the area where the roads are closed, and you need access to your home for pets or medications, you can park in lot #12 (where the Farmers Market is held). Go to the clock tower and show proper identification. An officer will escort you to your home. You will then to need to remain in place in your home until the roads are re-opened.
• There is a Family Reception Center at Waukesha South. If you are looking for family members and live out of town, please call 262-548-7122.
• Counseling services are also available at Waukesha South.
[Screenshot via WDJT; shows parade amid the red SUV’s arrival]
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