Five dead, 40 injured after SUV hits Wisconsin Christmas parade


  • SUV drives through afternoon Christmas parade in Waukesha
  • Person of interest in police custody, no other threat – police
  • Not sure if the incident is terrorism-related – police

WAUKESHA, Wis., Nov. 21 (Reuters) – Five people were killed and more than 40 injured when an SUV speeded through a Christmas parade in the small town of Waukesha, Wis. On Sunday, hitting dozens of people, including young children.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson told reporters one person was in custody and a vehicle was found after the incident in the town of about 72,000 people, 20 miles away. western Milwaukee.

Police said the number of dead and injured could change.

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Thompson said it was not clear if the incident was terrorist in nature, but there was no longer a danger and police lifted an order urging people to take cover.

A video posted online showed a red sport utility vehicle driving at high speed alongside and through the parade, appearing to run over more than a dozen people before crowds rushed from the sidewalks to offer assistance.

Thompson said an officer shot at the vehicle in an attempt to stop the carnage. Another video on social media appeared to show police shooting the vehicle as it crashed through barriers on the street. Police did not believe shots were fired from the vehicle, Thompson added, contrary to previous reports.

Nurse Jodi Singsime, 42, took refuge in a store with members of her family before going out to rescue the injured.

“I’ve heard and seen people get hit, but the more you can do than see is hear, and that sound was insane,” she said.

She choked on the story of meeting a little boy on the road:

“I felt his neck take a pulse and he had one but his eyes were barely open and his face – all I remember is that his sweet innocent little face was purple. He wasn’t. really with us. “

Belen Santamaria, her husband and their three-year-old daughter were planning to join the parade with their Catholic church. But Santamaria, a 39-year-old Mexican factory worker, woke up with a sore back on Sunday, so the family instead watched the procession from the sidewalk.

“The SUV went full speed,” she said. “Then I started to hear people screaming.”

She hid in a restaurant with their daughter while her husband, Jesus Ochoa, a 39-year-old delivery man, ran to try to help the injured. He said he had heard from other members of their church that around 10 members of the congregation, mostly Latinos and adults and children, had been injured.

Police tape at a crime scene is put on the streets after a car drives through a vacation parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA on November 22, 2021. REUTERS / Cheney Orr

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“I was going to be there, walking,” Santamaria said. “The SUV would have hit us too.”

‘DANCING MOMS’

Another woman told Fox6 television station in Milwaukee that the SUV struck a dance team made up of girls aged 9 to 15. A video on social media showed small groups surrounding injured girls with white pom poms strewn about.

A witness said the driver also struck a group of “Dancing Grannies” and at least one person knocked over the hood of the SUV, according to WISN-TV of Milwaukee, a subsidiary of ABC.

“Please keep the Grannies, all injured people and all who witnessed this horrific event in your thoughts and prayers,” the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said on their Facebook page.

Another witness estimated that the SUV was traveling at around 40 mph (64 km / h) when it hit the parade, the TV station said.

“As we walked back between the buildings… we saw an SUV drive through, just put the pedal on the metal and speed down the parade route. And then we heard a loud bang, and screams. deafening and screams of people hit by the vehicle, ”Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis city councilor, told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The local CBS affiliate then showed on Twitter a photo of what appeared to be the involved red SUV with its creased hood and front fender hanging down, parked in a driveway.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the “tragic situation” and federal officials were in contact with local authorities to offer assistance.

“Our hearts are with the families and the entire community,” she said in a Twitter post on Monday.

Photos and videos of Waukesha circulating on Twitter showed police cars and ambulances swarming a street adorned with Christmas lights the day after the incident, which occurred shortly after 4:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. GMT). People bundled up against the cold huddled on the sidewalks as night fell.

The Wisconsin Children’s Hospital said it received 15 patients as of 8 p.m., with no deaths reported at that time.

Schools will remain closed Monday for grades 4K-12 and additional counselors will be available for students, the district school superintendent said.

In 2015, four people were killed and 46 injured in Stillwater, Oklahoma, when a woman walked into a crowd watching the return parade of a football team.

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Reporting by Eric Beech and Alexandra Ulmer; Additional reporting by Radhika Anilkumar, David Morgan and Phil Stewart; Written by Lincoln Feast and Kevin Liffey; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Himani Sarkar, Peter Cooney, Richard Pullin and Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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