WAUKESHA (Wis.) -- A SUV plowed through barricades into a parade in suburban Milwaukee killing several people. The horrific scene was captured by the city's livestream as well as the cellphones of witnesses.
Chief of Waukesha Police Dan Thompson stated that "some" people were killed, but he would not provide an exact number. He said that a person was being held, along with the SUV, but did not provide any details about the motive.
One video shows a woman shouting, "Oh my god!" after she is struck by a group of girls in Santa hats dancing with white pompoms. Another video shows an SUV ramming into members of a marching group, their music being replaced by terrified screams.
Steven Howard, Fire Chief, stated that 11 adults and 12 kids were injured in an accident and were taken to hospital by his department. It is unknown how many people were taken by other hospitals. Children's Hospital of Wisconsin reported that it had received 15 patients from the parade, with no fatalities as of 8:20 p.m.
Sandra Peterson, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said that among the victims were a Catholic priest, several parishioners, and Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren.
Thompson stated that police had taken possession of the vehicle. With the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Justice, the investigation was still ongoing.
"What happened in Waukesha today was sickening," tweeted Attorney General Josh Kaul, the top state law enforcement officer.
Thompson stated that the SUV broke through the barricades at the parade and that a Waukesha officer shot his gun to try to stop it. Thompson stated that no one was hurt and that he didn't know if Thompson had shot the driver.
One video captures the moment an SUV broke through barricades, and what sounds like several gunshots. Another video shows a young girl dancing on the streets as the SUV speeds past her. The SUV then crashes into parade participants just a few hundred yards ahead.
The video ends with the pompom dancers being tendered by a group of people to one of the girls on the ground.
Corey Montiho (a Waukesha school board member) told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel his daughter's dance group was hit by an SUV.
"There were shoes, pompoms, and hot chocolate all over the place. He said, "I had to travel from one crumpled body the other to find my girl." "My wife, and my two daughters were almost killed. Pray for everyone. Please pray.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted one entry to the parade. It stated that members of the group and volunteers had been affected and that they are still waiting for word.
Chris Germain, coowner of Aspire Dance Center, had 70 girls marching in the parade. They ranged from 2 years old being pulled in wagons and up to 18 years old. Germain's 3-year-old daughter, Chris, was part of the parade. He said he was driving towards the entry and saw a maroon SUV. A police officer followed him on foot. Germain claimed that he jumped from his SUV and gathered the girls with him.
He said that there were many small children lying on the road and that EMTs and police officers were performing CPR on several members of the parade.
Angelito Tenorio from West Allis, who is running to be Wisconsin state treasurer. He said that he was at the parade with his family and saw an SUV speed into the area.
"Then we heard a loud bang," Tenorio said. "Then, we heard the deafening cries of the crowd and the screams of the people in the parade. People began to run away, crying as they ran.
Monday classes were cancelled by the Waukesha school district. The district posted a notice on their website stating that additional counselors will be available for staff and students. There were entries for cheer, dance, and band from district schools.
Gov. Tony Evers stated that he and Kathy were praying for Waukesha tonight, as well as all those affected by the senseless act.
The Chamber of Commerce of the City sponsors the parade. The 59th edition of the parade was held this year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Waukesha is located in the western suburb of Milwaukee and approximately 55 miles (90 km) north of Kenosha. Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday from charges stemming out of the shootings of three men in August 2020 during unrest in that area.