A small Wisconsin community was reeling Monday after at least five people were killed and more than 40 injured by a man who plowed his SUV into a Christmas parade Sunday in an apparently deliberate act captured on stomach-turning video.
Waukesha, a city of about 70,000, was mourning victims, who ranged from small children to members of a group called "the Dancing Grannies," even as police continued to investigate. Late Sunday, police chief Daniel Thompson said a male suspect was in custody and a red Ford Escape impounded.
"Today, our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration," Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said Sunday night. "I'm deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache."
Waukesha is about 50 miles north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday in the shooting deaths of two men during rioting on Aug. 25, 2020. It was not known if Sunday's attack was related to the verdict, which drew intense national attention. There were reports he may have been fleeing a crime scene that may have involved a knife fight.
"It is unknown at this time whether this incident has a nexus to terrorism,” Thompson said Sunday.
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‘Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration,’ Waukesha city mayor Shawn Reilly said after a sports utility vehicle sped through a Christmas parade killing at least five and injuring several others https://t.co/hqvzCIqIZi pic.twitter.com/VnaCZ1V4E3— Reuters (@Reuters) November 22, 2021
The festive, small-town atmosphere was shattered Sunday evening at 4:40 p.m. local time when the vehicle crashed through barriers, and the driver appeared to accelerate through the crowd. Police officers fired at the car as it tore through the parade route, leaving broken bodies in its wake.
Cellphone video quickly turned up on social media, capturing the carnage from a grim variety of angles.
The FBI tweeted that it is working with local law enforcement on the investigation.
"The FBI is providing assistance," the tweet read. "It is standard practice for the FBI to assist our local law enforcement partners."
Wisconsin Fraternity of Police President Ryan Windorff told Fox News that police intend to conduct witness interviews and investigate the background of the suspect.
Paradegoers said that several groups of performers were struck, including several "Dancing Grannies" and a dance team of girls ages 8-15.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki says that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the "tragic situation" and has contacted local authorities to offer assistance.
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All Waukesha public schools will be closed Monday, the police department said in a statement.
This was the 58th Christmas Parade at Waukesha, as the town canceled last year's parade due to COVID-19.