According to the City of Waukesha, an automobile has smashed through a Christmas parade in the state of Wisconsin, killing five people and wounding at least 40 more, including children.
The event happened on Sunday at around 4:39 p.m. (22:39 GMT) in Waukesha, which is approximately 32 kilometres (20 miles) west of Milwaukee.
When asked about the tragedy that occurred at what should have been a community celebration, Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly told reporters that the city had “experienced horror and sadness in what should have been a communal celebration.”
The fact that so many members of our community participated in the march but were injured or suffered heartbreak is heartbreaking to me,” Reilly expressed regret.
Chief Dan Thompson of the Waukesha Police Department said that a person of interest had been apprehended and that the suspect car had been retrieved.
“A red SUV drove into our Christmas parade, which was taking place downtown,” Thompson told reporters after the event. Later, he acknowledged that more than 20 people had been hurt, but he was unable to provide an estimate of the number of persons who had been murdered at the time.
According to him, it was not clear if the event was linked to terrorism; nevertheless, a previous shelter-in-place order in the town of around 72,000 people had been rescinded, he said.
Video shared online shows a red SUV ploughing through the procession, seeming to run over more than a dozen people before onlookers rushed to the scene from the walkways to provide help to the victims.
When the car crashed through the street barricades in a second video, it looked like cops opened fire on the vehicle.
Later, the local CBS station posted a photo on Twitter showing what seemed to be the red SUV involved in the accident, with its hood crumpled and front fender hanging off, sitting in a driveway with its front fender hanging off.
A tweet from Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, the state’s top law enforcement official, described the events in Waukesha as “sickening.”
In his words, “I have great faith that those guilty will be held to account.”
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Corey Montiho, a member of the Waukesha school system board of trustees, said his daughter’s dance team was struck by the SUV.
“They were pom-poms and shoes, and they splattered hot chocolate all over the place. ” “I had to go from one crushed corpse to another in order to locate my daughter,” he said. “My wife and two children were on the verge of being struck. Please say a prayer for everyone. “Please say a prayer.”
Chris Germain, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center class, told the Associated Press news agency that he had around 70 girls in the march, ranging in age from as young as 2 years old who were drawn in waggons to as elderly as 18 years old who were walking in the procession.
He was driving at the front of their entrance when he saw a maroon SUV that “blazed right by us,” according to Germain, who had his own 3-year-old daughter participating in the march. He said that a police officer came by on foot, chasing after him. After jumping out of his SUV and gathering the females who were with him, Germain claimed to have done it by hand.
According to him, there were “little children lying all over the road,” as well as police officers and EMTs doing CPR on many procession participants.
According to WISN-TV, an ABC station in Milwaukee, a witness said that the driver also struck the “Dancing Grannies,” and at least one person was thrown from the bonnet of the SUV, among other things.
Several members of the organisation and volunteers were injured, and the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted a statement on their Facebook page asking for updates on their status. In your thoughts and prayers, please remember the Grannies, as well as all those who were hurt and all those who saw this horrific act.”
In the wake of the event, photos and videos of Waukesha were widely shared on social media, showing police vehicles and ambulances along a street decked up in Christmas lights and surrounded by people. As the sun began to set, people snuggled together on the sidewalks.
According to Thompson, some of the injured were sent to the hospital by ambulance, while others were transported by police and still others were transported by family and friends.
Reports in the newspaper said that police officers hurried along the street, ordering parade goers to seek refuge at nearby establishments.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers stated he and his wife, Kathy, were “pray[ing] for Waukesha tonight, as well as for all the children, families, and members of the community who have been impacted by this terrible act of violence.”