A tragedy unfolded in Waukesha, Wisconsin when the driver of a red SUV sped through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee.
More than 40 people were injured and at least five people were declared dead as of Monday morning.
Police officers opened fire to stop the vehicle. The driver stopped and was subsequently taken into custody. There was no motive given for the attack, although there are rumors that the driver was fleeing the scene of a crime when he drove through barriers and crashed into the parade.
Nothing has been confirmed at this time and the identity of the suspect has yet to be disclosed.
Chaos Unfolds At Wisconsin Christmas Parade
Many dancers in the parade were struck, including members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies dance troupe that confirmed members of their dance group were among those injured and killed in the tragic event.
In a Facebook statement issued early Monday morning, they wrote, “The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are devasted by this terrible tragedy with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade.”
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.”
They continued, “Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together.”
They concluded the post by saying, “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.”
Dancers Of All Ages Participated In The Parade
Our thoughts are with the community of Waukesha pic.twitter.com/xPRZcK1654
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) November 22, 2021
Dancers young and old participated in the annual festive parade. One father described going “from crumpled body to crumpled body” in search of his young daughter.
In an interview with AP News, co-owner of the Aspire Dance Center studio, Chris Germain, said that their dance company had around seventy people in the parade. Children as young as two-years-old were being pulled along with wagons, but their dance company enrolled dancers up to age 18.
German’s three-year-old daughter was in the parade. Fortunately, she was not injured. He said that he was “driving at the head of their entry” when he was the SUV that “just blazed right past us.” After he saw a police officer in hot pursuit, Germain explained that he quickly jumped out of his own SUV, gathered the girl, and got them to safety.
After they were safe, he went back to see what happened. “There were small children laying all over the road,” he explained. “There were police officers and EMTs doing CPR on multiple members of the parade.”
In a statement posted late last night, the Green Bay Packers posted a statement, saying, “Our thoughts are with the community of Waukesha this evening and those affected by the terrible, senseless act that took place at the holiday parade.”
“We are grateful for the first responders and others who assisted the injured and comforted those in need,” they continued. “We share our condolences with those who lost loved ones. As a statewide community, we must all come together to support each other in these difficult times.”