Waukesha, Wisconsin, police say at least 23 people were injured after a red SUV ran through the city’s Christmas parade, plowing into many people, including small children. Graphic videos emerged from the scene. You can watch some later in this article, but be forewarned they are disturbing.
Local residents told Heavy that their loved ones were barricaded in stores after a vehicle drove through the crowd; many people believed the suspect was shooting from it as gunfire echoed through the parade route, but the police chief Dan Thompson now says he doesn’t believe shots were fired from the SUV. “An officer did discharge his weapon at the suspect vehicle to try to stop the suspect vehicle,” he said. No people were injured by the gunfire.
Authorities said 11 adults and 12 pediatric patients were transported to six area hospitals. Their conditions are not clear; they said some people died, but they did not have a number of deaths.
This horrific video from above shows the red truck running people over. The Waukesha South High School marching band was among those hit, according to a man who was there.
Local residents reported many people lying on the ground, injured or dead. A law enforcement source said one of two suspects are in custody; another is being sought. The police chief would say only that police have apprehended a “person of interest.” Listen to scanner audio later in this article.
Shawn Reilly, the mayor, said, “Tonight was a traumatic situation for the City of Waukesha. We don’t have all the details.” The mayor said in a second press conference, “today we experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy. I walked in the parade at the beginning. I saw all of the happy children sitting on the curb…. I can still see the smiling faces. A parade is a celebration for our community.”
The chief said that, at 4:39 p.m. on November 21, 2021, a red SUV “drove into our Christmas parade…more than 20 individuals were injured.” he said the SUV drove through barricades down Main Street. “It struck more than 20 individuals. Some were children, and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident.” The names of victims and the number of those dead were not released. He said it’s not clear whether the incident has any “nexus to terrorism.”
Thompson said the Waukesha police department has “recovered a suspect vehicle. It’s an ongoing investigation. The victims were transported from the scene via ambulance. Officers transported some of the injured people and took them to the hospital. It’s a very tragic incident. Very chaotic. There are no other threats involved.”
A woman in the below video told police, “there are so many down.”
Here’s what you need to know:
A Man Described How the SUV Came a Foot From His Son & Said, ‘They Have a Whole Block of Main Street That Is Casualties’
Above is the Facebook live video of the parade from the city’s Facebook page.
One man’s son was almost struck by the truck, and he gave Heavy this extremely graphic and disturbing account:
“We just heard screaming up the parade route and looked over, and the red jeep or SUV came barreling through,” Michael Hurst, a woodworker from Waukesha whose son was almost hit by the truck, told Heavy in a phone interview. “I pulled my son away. He probably got missed by about a foot. There was a little kid next to us that got hit. I did see dead bodies. The amount of people who are going to be dead from this, it might even be worse than that Las Vegas shooting. They have a whole block of Main Street that is casualties. We did hear that there were active shooters. We don’t know where that came from or if that’s true. The police pulled me into a building and said to stay in there, get in there, there’s active shooters. One officer told us they did stop the active shooters. My son was out in that street grabbing candy.”
He added: “At that moment I thought just to grab my son and family and get them on the curb. It was 100% intentional.” He believes the truck drove through the parade for about a mile. “I saw a young boy get hit. He was still alive. He was in a lot of pain. I am pretty sure he was going to have broken legs. I did see another guy who was laying in the street. I guarantee he was dead. There were about 20 ambulances coming and going. It looked like a war zone down there.”
An eyewitness at the parade route, Beth Ginnow-Mandl, told Heavy she saw the suspect’s face as the SUV drove past. “Couple dead right around us,” she said. “We all were screaming and running into a building. Store owner let us in. Went out to get a lay of the land. Incredible first responders doing cpr on at least 10 people around us. Ambulances came quick. We locked down an hour or so. Most harrowing thing we have ever witnessed. Saw driver’s face – focused. Intent.”
Waukesha is a suburban city in a conservative, affluent county next to Milwaukee County. Wisconsin, of course, has been riven with divisions recently over the Kyle Rittenhouse acquittal in Kenosha, which is about an hour away from Waukesha. There is no indication of a connection at this point or not – there is just no information about motive or suspects yet because the incident is unfolding. A witness at the scene said local well-known Black Lives Matter activists, including one man who was prominently protesting the Rittenhouse trial, showed up to the scene to survey the aftermath, as did many others. Again, though, police have said nothing yet on motive or suspect name(s). The Waukesha Christmas parade, which goes through the downtown, is a mainstay in that community of about 72,000 people.
The Abandoned SUV Was Recovered in a Driveway & a Woman Says a Man Who May Be the Suspect Knocked on Her Relative’s Door
The abandoned SUV was later located by police officers in a driveway, according to scanner audio. An officer said on the police radio that a bullet struck the windshield but there was no evidence anyone inside the vehicle was hit. According to the scanner, police found the suspect’s ID in the vehicle and a Ford key on him.
Another witness told Heavy she saw a red SUV driving down the road. It hit a male who went flying into the air in front of her. It continued on. She heard screaming.
A woman wrote Heavy, “(A relative) lives in Waukesha, a black guy with dreads knocked on her door shortly after the incident at the parade. She wouldn’t let him in and he proceeded to go across the street trying to break into a building. My daughter called 911 with a description and they said they think he was driving the SUV that drove into all the people.” Police have not confirmed the suspect description, but they did describe the suspect as possibly being a “black male” on the scanner. A more specific description was not given.
A man wrote Heavy: “My friend was approached by the people in the car. One was arrested, other two on the run. They asked to use his phone. 3 African Americans, early 20’s, dreadlocks.” We are not printing his name, either, for his own protection, but we have it.
He added: “He’s at the station now. It looked like they ditched the car. He used the phone and they have the fingerprints. He said it looked like they were ditching clothes.”
Listen to the archived scanner audio below. The second file captures the aftermath.
At 4:39 p.m., a police officer could be heard on the radio saying, “There’s a car going westbound approaching the parade course. A red Escape. Black male. I couldn’t stop him. He’s going westbound blowing his horn.”
Another police officer said a “maroon Ford Escape just blew by me White Rock and Hartwell heading toward the parade route.” About a minute later, an officer called for help and said, “Sounds like a car sped through westbound Main” and said people had been “ran over” with “multiple casualties,” calling for multiple ambulances to respond.
A frantic officer then got on the radio and said, “We have about 10 to 15 people down in the street. … We need all available units to the downtown.” He then got back onto the radio and yelled, “I’ve got about 30 people down.” The officer then corrected himself, saying there were 40 casualties down Main Street. Another officer said a woman was not conscious and not breathing. Casualty refer to both injuries and deceased victims.
“Alert all the hospitals,” an officer yelled.
Police were still searching for the vehicle and suspect as of 4:47 p.m., according to an officer’s radio transmission. He said they were looking for a red Ford Escape SUV with “heavy front end damage” heading southbound away from the parade. Another officer said he had fired shots at the SUV when it was driving through the parade area. As noted, they later found the vehicle.
Very Disturbing Videos Captured the Incident
A live video may have captured the vehicle, screams, and a law enforcement officer running. Officers were frantic, yelling, even screaming on the scanner.
This horrific video shows bodies lying on the ground as people rush to help. We aren’t going to embed it because it’s so graphic. “Oh my God!” a woman screams repeatedly in it. The same is the case with this graphic video.
One very disturbing video showed a young man helping his grandpa to safety inside a business. “There’s shots fired now, guys,” he says in the Instagram video as kids cry in the background. “It’s f***cking chaos. That was the worse thing I’ve ever seen in my life.” A man wails, “What is wrong with the world right now?” Be forewarned that the video contains graphic language and is very disturbing.
Kaylee Staral, whose Twitter page describes her as a business reporting intern with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, wrote on Twitter, “UPDATE: A car just ran through the middle of a downtown Waukesha parade. Multiple people on the ground injured.” She wrote that police were shouting that 30 people were injured.
Scanner traffic indicated that authorities have coded victims into different categories, red, yellow, green and black, although it’s not clear what that means at this point.
People Said a ‘Car Broke Through…Plowing Through Pedestrians’ & Shots Were Fired
Heavy spoke to multiple people with loved ones at the scene.
“Just talked to (a friend) – she said she saw bodies flying. They were shoot(ing) out the windows as they drove through, running people over,” a woman whose friend was there told Heavy (we are not printing people’s names for their own protection and privacy.) Her friend wrote her, “ppl driving through parade hurting people.”
Scanner traffic indicated people were transported to multiple hospitals, including Children’s Hospital. Police were checking businesses for victims. Scanner traffic indicated police were searching for two men.
“At the Waukesha Holiday parade and a car just broke through the police line, plowing through pedestrians and firing rounds out the window. Family and I are safe. Happened 20 feet in front of us,” a man wrote on Twitter.
Kaylee Staral, the reporting intern, wrote on Twitter: “Police shouting at least 30 people down and that shots were fired.”
Staral wrote on Twitter, “Heavy police and ambulance presence now. Tons of families with children running to their cars to leave the scene.”
People Hid at Local Stores
We asked people in Waukesha to send us information about the parade incident if they had it. We received these comments.
“My brother is locked in…(a) store.. He said a car drove into the crowd firing shots.” (We removed the name of the store for the man’s protection.)
“My daughter is barricaded in a store with her husband and son.”
“My son is there & called me crying, He said a truck ran through the barricade.”
Another woman, who was in the parade, told Heavy she heard “that a car ran through the parade and multiple people down, little girl critically injured. Someone mentioned gunshots because as we were walking back towards my car everyone started running the opposite way and so we started running and stayed in a gas station until my sister…picked us up.”
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