Waukesha, Wis. (AP) — An SUV rammed into a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha on Sunday, injuring more than 20 people, the city’s police chief said.
Chief Dan Thompson said the investigation was ongoing, but a “suspicious vehicle” had been recovered. Thompson said some of the injured were taken to hospital by police and others by family members.
“We have a person of interest who we are looking at at this time,” Thompson said. It was not clear whether the person was in custody; Thompson deferred questions until a later briefing.
Mayor Sean Reilly told WITI in Milwaukee that he did not believe there was an ongoing threat to the public.
Police in Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, were urging people to avoid the downtown area.
In a live video feed of the parade from downtown Waukesha, as well as videos taken by parade attendees, a red SUV was seen breaking barriers and speeding into the street where the parade was taking place.
A video taken along the parade route showed a group of teenage girls dancing with white pom-poms and wearing Santa hats. The SUV falls into the group as the person filming shouts, “Oh my god!” Frequently. It is shown in the video that people are turning towards at least one girl lying on the ground.
Another video showed the SUV striking a member of a marching band and several others before driving on the parade route. The sound of the marching band heard before the SUV arrives is replaced by screams.
Waukesha School District Board member Cory Montiho told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel That his daughter’s dance team got hit by the SUV.
“They were pom-poms and shoes and hot chocolate splattered everywhere. I had to go from one broken body to another to find my daughter,” he said. “My wife and two daughters are almost hurt. Please pray for everyone. Please pray.”
West Ellis alderman Angelito Tenorio, running for Wisconsin State Treasurer, told The Associated Press that he was watching the parade with his family when he saw an SUV speeding into the area.
“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio said. “And after that, we just heard screams and screams from the crowd, from the people in the parade. And people started crying, with tears in their eyes, crying.”
Tenorio said he saw about 10 people on the ground, children and adults, who had been hit by the vehicle.
“It just happened so quickly,” he said. “It was quite frightening.”
The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th edition of the event that is held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges of shooting three people during unrest in that city in August 2020.