Wisconsin Community Gathers to Mourn, Pray as Christmas Parade Tragedy Suspect Identified

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Currents News Staff

A little girl dances as the Christmas parade marches down the streets of Waukesha, Wisconsin, when all of a sudden, an SUV flies by just inches from the child and slams into the crowd ahead.

At least five people were killed, dozens more injured including a Catholic priest, parishioners and Catholic school children. Archbishop Jerome Listecki of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee is asking people to join him in prayer for the victims.

“When confronted with the shock and the grief encountered by our brothers and sisters in Waukesha, it is now important for us to turn to our faith which offers us God’s loving presence and consolation,” said Archbishop Listecki.

The parade is an annual tradition in this small city where people line the streets for a joyous celebration kicking off the Christmas season. But that joy turned to sorrow when police say 39-year-old Darrell Brooks intentionally drove his SUV into the crowd.

“The subject was taken into custody a short distance from the scene and we’re confident he acted alone,” said Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson. “There is no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.”

The Milwaukee resident is known to police in the area. He has been charged three times in less than two years with recklessly endangering the safety of others, most recently, on Nov. 5, but was released on bail just six days later. Just before plowing into the crowd, police say Brooks was leaving the scene of a domestic disturbance.

“Last night, our wonderful Waukesha parade became a horrific tragedy,” said the police chief. “Last night, that parade became a nightmare.”

Now the community is coming together to grieve. A Catholic high school is holding a prayer service.