Waukesha authorities have provided more details about the horrific killings that occurred at a local Christmas parade Sunday.
Five people died and 48 people were injured when a man in a maroon SUV "intentionally" drove through barricades and into the crowd of paradegoers, Police Chief Dan Thompson said at a Monday news conference. Of those injured, two are children in critical condition, he added, with police noting that number could still increase.
"We actually had squads and barricades up," Thompson said, "and he drove right through the barricades and the officers."
Police also identified the five people killed, who range in age from 52 to 81
- Virginia Sorenson, 79
- LeAnna Owen, 71
- Tamara Durand, 52
- Jane Kulich, 52
- Wilhelm Hospel, 81
Sorenson and Owen were both members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, which was performing in the parade.
"Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies," the group wrote on Facebook Monday. "Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted . Please keep them their families, friends, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and everyone who lives have forever changed in your thoughts and prayers."
The suspect, a 39-year-old Milwaukee man, was arrested and is in custody. He was quickly identified at the scene and uninjured, Thompson said.
As he barreled through the parade route, Thompson said one officer fired multiple shots at the car, hoping to stop the driver. But the officer, worried about the safety of the crowd, then ceased fire.
That officer is on standard administrative leave, and Thompson said nobody was injured as a result of the gunshots.
Police are recommending five counts of homicide be filed against the individual, with the potential for more criminal charges as additional information is uncovered, he said.
Thompson said they do not believe it was an act of terrorism, adding they believe he was involved in a possible domestic disturbance minutes prior — but left that scene before officers could respond.
While the police chief would not comment on a possible motive at this point due to the active nature of the investigation, video and witness accounts make clear the devastation that occurred.
Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard said the scene was "carnage," describing it as a "warzone."
"There were adults, children that were injured," he said. "Some of our first responders were there with their families. They left their families to help treat people."
One harrowing moment caught on a Facebook Live video shows the SUV speeding along the parade route, coming within inches of a young child dancing on the edge of the road.
Howard said 48 people were transported to six hospitals. Twenty-nine of them went to nearby Waukesha Memorial, said vice president of ProHealth Care Alan Johnson. There were "many children" among the victims.
Eleven of them were transferred to Childrens Wisconsin, he said.
Twelve individuals who came to the Waukesha Memorial ER were treated and released. Four individuals were admitted, but are stable, Johnson added.
Howard and Thompson credited the many first responders for quick action, and said bystanders at the scene also helped treat and transport victims.
The police chief called those who stepped up "heroes" amid the chaos and tragedy.