A least five people have been killed and 40 injured after an SUV was driven into a Christmas parades in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Dance groups and high school bands and politicians were marching along Main Street in the Milwaukee suburb’s Christmas parade, which was returning from a pandemic hiatus, when the incident occurred.
Shortly before 4.40pm the driver of a red SUV stormed past barricades and drove through the crowd, striking dozens of people. At least five people were killed and 40 people were injured, and the numbers could change, city authorities said in a statement late on Sunday. Hospitals reported treating dozens of patients, including many children.
“Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration,” said mayor Shawn Reilly. “I’m deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.”
Chief Daniel Thompson of the Waukesha Police Department said a person of interest was in custody and that there was no further threat. Eyewitnesses described the driver as male, but that was not confirmed by police. Mr Thompson said shots were fired by the police at the driver.
Children’s Wisconsin hospital said it had admitted 15 people on Sunday. Details about their conditions were not immediately available. Another hospital, Aurora Medical Center-Summit, said in a statement that it was treating 13 patients, including three in critical condition. Officials at Froedtert Hospital said they also had received patients but did not specify how many.
This was the 58th Christmas parade for Waukesha, an annual event that was cancelled last year because of the pandemic. The theme of this year’s event was simply “Comfort and Joy.” Jason Kellner (49) said that he had just watched his son, a drum player in the Waukesha South High School marching band, pass by, when he first saw a red Ford Escape heading toward the crowd. After passing through an intersection, Mr Kellner said, the car “started mowing people down”.
“I’ve never felt a worse feeling; wondering what I’m going to find when I get to my kid,” Mr Kellner said of the moment he ran toward his son, whom he found standing unharmed by the side of the road. Mr Kellner said he pulled a bloody saxophone off the street and saw several people, apparently injured, on the ground. “Right now, I’m just angry,” Mr Kellner said. “It seems everywhere we turn, it’s just another violent day in the US.”
Tyler Kotlarek (28) was watching the parade with family members when they heard screams. “It was