Wisconsin Christmas parade: Darrell Brooks ‘wanted to hit as many people as possible’, prosecutors say

Police officers tried in vain to stop Darrell Brooks prior to fatal rampage, according to court documents

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 25 November 2021 14:02
Waukesha suspect Darrell Brooks caught by doorbell camera after parade tragedy

Darrell Brooks was trying to strike “as many people as possible” when he drove into marchers and spectators at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin on Sunday, authorities say.

A criminal complaint describes Mr Brooks as having “no emotion” when he allegedly smashed through a police barricadein his red Ford Escape SUV and deliberately targeted school children in marchings bands and grandparents in dance troupes, killing six people and wounding more than 60.

Moments earlier, he fled from police responding to a call about a domestic dispute between him and another person, according to a charging document filed Tuesday in the Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Prosecutors plan to charge the 39-year-old with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He is being held on $5m bail.

A charging document in the State of Wisconsin vs Darrell E Brooks states police were alerted to a fight at the White Rock School in Waukesha at around 4.35pm on Sunday.

Police squad cars were dispatched to the school but before they arrived, the suspect had fled.

A few minutes later, Detective Tom Casey, who working traffic control at the Christmas parade, said he heard a car horn honking and a red Ford Escape come into view, and noticed people “jumping out of the way” as the vehicle sped toward the parade route.

As it reached the corner of White Rock Av and East Main St, Det. Casey stepped in front of the Ford Escape and “pounded on the hood of the vehicle and yelled multiple times ‘Stop’,” the document states.

The car was travelling at slow speed and the officer said he could clearly identified Darrell Brooks behind the wheel. He again tried to stop the car, pounding on the driver’s window and chasing after it on foot, but the driver took off at speed.

Det. Casey warned other officers over his radio that Brooks’s SUV was entering the parade route and people were in danger.

Seconds later Mr Brooks ran over several parade marchers and spectators while travelling west on East Main St.

Det. Casey came across the bodies of three victims lying in the road, all of whom were dead or dying.

Another officer, Bryce Butryn, said he “observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face”.

Darrell Brooks in a music video posted online which shows his red SUV behind him

Mr Butryn also tried in vain to stop the vehicle, and estimated it was driving at 25 mph.

When the driver arrived at the corner of East Main St and NW Barstow St, the officer saw the driver put on the brakes and thought he was trying to make a right hand turn to exit the parade route.

But instead Mr Butryn heard the SUV’s tires screech, and watched as it rapidly accelerated and turn left directly into the path of the parade.

“At this point, it was clear to Officer Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible,” the document states.

Soon after, the Waukesha PD veteran came across dozens of casualties as he continued to pursue the vehicle on foot, with people “pulling at him saying that they needed assistance with injured parties”.

“Based on the on-going threat of the vehicle and the occupant, Officer Butryn asked those assisting with the casualties as he passed, if they were breathing, and advised them to stay with them and that ambulances were on the way.”

A witness later told police it appeared the vehicle was driving in a “zig zag motion... trying to avoid vehicles, not people.”

“There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down,” the witness told police.

It seemed the driver had “a direct intent to hit as many parade participants,” the witness told police.

More than $1.5m has been raised to support victims of the attack and their families. The six victims have been identified as Tamara Durand, Jane Kulich, Wilhelm Hospel, Leanna Owen, Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson, and Jackson Sparks.