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5 dead, more than 40 hurt after motorist drives through Wisconsin Christmas parade

Suspect in custody
Christmas Parade Waukesha Milwaukee
Posted at 3:52 PM, Nov 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 09:19:48-05

WAUKESHA, Wisc. — Police say they have a suspect in custody after a driver went through a barrier and drove through a Christmas parade, killing five people and injuring more than 40.

A video provided to Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee shows a car driving through a busy section of the parade and hitting at least half a dozen people. Other videos showed the SUV speeding away. The event was also livestreamed on the city of Waukesha's Facebook page, capturing images of the incident.

Police recovered the vehicle shortly after the incident and quickly issued a shelter-in-place order for everyone within a half-mile radius of downtown Waukesha. The shelter-in-place was lifted after the suspect was taken into custody.

Police have not yet identified the suspect.

While eyewitnesses told TMJ4 the driver of the car fired shots out of the window while they sped through the parade, police later clarified that the only gunshots were fired by officers in an attempt to stop the driver of the car.

Ambulances, police, and family members drove the injured to local hospitals.

Initial reports from police said that the victims included 12 children and 11 adults. Children's Wisconsin hospital in Milwaukee has told TMJ4 that they received 15 patients from the incident.

Among the injured are a Catholic priest, as well as several parishioners and Catholic school children, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said in a statement Sunday night.

"Our prayers are with the people who have been injured and killed during the tragic incident in Waukesha," the Archdiocese said.

The Waukesha School District announced that classes would be canceled Monday as a result of the incident and that counselors would be made available to students.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said in a statement Sunday evening that he is praying for the victims of the crash.

"Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act," Evers tweeted. "I'm grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information."

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow participated in the parade Sunday and released a statement.

"Please pray for our community tonight after the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade. I had just finished participating in the parade with my wife when I noticed police sirens. Shortly afterward, I learned that a vehicle drove through the parade route injuring many people. Right now, we are still learning about what happened," Farrow said in a statement. "This is an active investigation, and all updates tonight will come from our law enforcement partners. I have been in contact with Mayor Reilly and offered any resources the county could provide. I have also spoken with the Governor who offers his prayers and assistance. This is an unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions. Keep the families affected in your thoughts as we work to offer whatever support we can."

This story was originally published by Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.