The small town of Waukesha is still looking for explanations for the horror. The motorist accused of rushing into the crowd of a Christmas parade will be charged with five “intentional homicides” (equivalent to “murder” in Wisconsin) announced Monday the American authorities in the aftermath of the tragedy which also made 48 injured. On Monday six children were in critical condition.

“According to our information, the suspect was involved in a domestic dispute a few moments before” and “there is no evidence that it is a terrorist act,” said Daniel Thompson, the police chief of Waukesha, where the events took place, without specifying the driver’s motives. He “forced” the security gates and “ignored” the warnings of security agents and a police officer who discharged his service weapon to try to stop him – without causing injury – said the official.

A group of broke grandmothers

This small town of 72,000 inhabitants is located in Wisconsin, about thirty kilometers west of Milwaukee, the main metropolis of this state in the Great Lakes region. Many locals, including families with children, were attending the annual Christmas parade when Darrell Brooks Jr, a 39-year-old man from Milwaukee, drove his SUV through the crowd at around 4:30 p.m.

According to witnesses and images of the parade, the vehicle burst behind a high school marching band, also affecting members of an association of grandmothers. A police officer fired at the vehicle and the driver was arrested shortly after the incident.

The heavy toll could increase further: at least five dead – four women and a man, aged 52 to 81 – and 48 injured, according to a report from the police and health authorities. Among the injured, 18 minors aged 3 to 16 were taken to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. Ten are in intensive care and six are in critical condition.

Criminal record loaded

Darrell Brooks Jr had already been indicted ten times since 1999, the most recent in 2020 for endangering others, then on November 5 for an episode of domestic violence, according to court documents. He was later released on a $ 1,000 bond, the Milwaukee district attorney said in a statement, admitting that the amount was “indecently low in view of the nature of the charges” against him.

According to Washington post, citing a police source, he was previously present at the scene of a stabbing fight, before fleeing and rushing into the procession.

Schools in the city will be closed all week, and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said on Twitter that he has “ordered the flags of the United States and Wisconsin to be half-masted as we continue to pray for Waukesha and the children, loved ones, and neighbors whose lives were forever changed by an unimaginable tragedy last night ”.

Apparently unrelated to this drama, Wisconsin had already been agitated by the acquittal last week of Kyle Rittenhouse, a young American who shot dead two men in 2020 during anti-racist protests in Kenosha, about 80 km south of Waukesha.

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