Waukesha Christmas Parade suspect charged with 5 intentional homicide counts, child becomes sixth victim
A $5 million cash bail was set for Darrell Brooks Tuesday afternoon
MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WBAY) - Court records show a man suspected of killing multiple people after driving through a Christmas parade in Waukesha this past Sunday has been formally charged.
A criminal complaint shows 39-year-old Darrell Brooks has been charged with five counts of First Degree Intentional Homicide. Each count carries a life prison sentence if he is convicted. During Brooks’ court hearing Tuesday afternoon, prosecutors announced a sixth person - a child - has died.
A post made by LifePoint Church says the sixth victim is 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, who died Tuesday afternoon from his injuries. His brother, 12-year-old Tucker, was also seriously injured, but is said to be recovering.
Police identified the other five victims Monday as:
- 79-year-old Virginia Sorenson
- 71-year-old LeAnna Owen
- 52-year-old Tamara Durand
- 52-year-old Jane Kulich
- 81-year-old Wilhelm Hospel
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The complaint says after autopsies done on the five victims, the medical examiner states their causes of death is ‘multiple blunt force injuries’.
According to the complaint, Brooks is also accused of injuring 62 other people during the parade, where officials say there were 100 entries, hundreds of participants, and thousands of people watching. That number includes children and adults, and the complaint says some were in in critical condition.
The document states a detective, identified as in the complaint as Detective Casey, was working traffic control and heard a citizen and two people were fighting near White Rock School, which is located near the parade staging area - on the radio at 4:35 p.m. At that time, squads were sent to check out the fight.
Shortly after, the complaint states the detective heard honking, and went to check it out. That’s where a red Ford Escape was found driving through the area, and people jumping out of the Escape’s way. The detective then yelled for the driver to stop, and pounded on the hood of the vehicle, but the complaint states Brooks continued driving.
Eventually, the vehicle brushed the detective back off of the front of the vehicle, which caused him to be positioned down the driver’s side of the vehicle. The complaint states Casey then pounded on the driver’s side door, and yelling ‘stop’, but claims Brooks kept going, and drove into the parade procession.
That’s when the complaint says Casey chased Brooks, and saw him pick up speed. He then allegedly hit many pedestrians, including parade participants and spectators on the side of the street.
An officer, identified as Officer Butryn, was at the scene and stated in the complaint he thought the vehicle was going to come to a stop and turn out of the parade route onto NW Barstow Street. Butryn said at one point he also observed Brooks was driving straight ahead, directly at him, and appeared to have no emotion on his face. Butryn had yelled “stop, stop the vehicle” multiple times.
However, Butryn said the vehicle appeared to then rapidly accelerate, and he heard tires squeal, before it turned into the crowd of parade participants. Butryn estimated Brooks was driving 25 mph, but increased his speed, adding Brooks could have gotten off the parade route multiple times, but at one point is said to have taken “an abrupt left turn into the crowd of parade participants...this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible.”
According to documents, Butryn ran behind the vehicle and its path, and said he watched it “intentionally moving side to side, striking multiple people, and bodies and objects were flying from the area of the vehicle.”
Eventually, Butryn said he began to find multiple casualties, with people pulling at him, saying they needed help with those who were injured. However, Butryn asked those helping with the casualties as he passed that if they were breathing, and told them to stay with the injured and ambulances were on the way. He then continued to run after the vehicle to try and stop the driver.
In the complaint, it says Brooks’ vehicle was hit three times after an officer, identified as Officer Scholten in the complaint, opened fire after said he saw the Ford Escape traveling south on W. Main Street and approaching Wisconsin Avenue, and running over people.
According to a witness cited in the complaint, “it continued to drive in a zig zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down.”
During Tuesday’s court hearing, a court commissioner set Brooks’ bail at $5 million, and his next court date was scheduled for January 14 at 9:15 a.m.
You can find a video of his appearance, as well as the full criminal complaint, below.
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