Waukesha death toll rises to 6 as suspect faces $ 5million bail
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WAUKESHA, Wisconsin – The reserve police officer radioed an alarming report. Two people witnessed a brawl, possibly involving knives, outside the Rotary building in a riverside park in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Within seconds, several officers said they would be going there. The dispatcher told them to hurry. But when the first patrol boat arrived, near where the kayaks are rented in the cooler months, the fight that could have happened was over.
“I’m near the Rotary Building and the baseball field,” the officer said calmly. “There is nothing here.”
About a minute later, panic swept over the police scanner. The driver of a brown SUV was driving through the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Main Street not far from the park, pounding on members of the marching band and a troupe of Dancing Grannies. He didn’t stop.
Authorities in Waukesha have accused Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of killing six people and injuring more than 60 others in the parade attack on Sunday night. They said he was fleeing a nearby family dispute that could have involved a knife – an apparent reference to the previous incident at the park.
Mr Brooks, who cried at the defense table during his first court appearance on Tuesday afternoon, has been charged with five counts of first degree intentional homicide and sentenced to $ 5million cash bail. dollars. Prosecutors said they learned of the sixth death of an 8-year-old boy on Tuesday and intended to lay another homicide charge.
“There are no words to describe the risk this defendant poses to our community,” Waukesha County District Attorney Susan L. Opper said in court, where she referred to detectives who said Mr. Brooks appeared to intentionally lead. in people.
“The police told him to stop,” Ms. Opper said. “They risked their own safety to try to get past the car to stop it. Everything was done to get him to stop – and he just continued down the road, causing death and destruction. “
Kevin Costello, the commissioner of the court who presided over the bail hearing, granted prosecutors’ request for the $ 5 million bail.
“This is an extraordinarily serious case, with an extraordinary history of this gentleman – of running away, of hurting people, of not following court orders, of not following criminal laws, of not just following your societal standards. “said Mr. Costello.
A lawyer for Mr Brooks said little in court, but told the court his client was destitute. Mr. Brooks, who wore a dark green waistcoat and a white face mask, bowed his head for most of the hearing.
As some victims remained hospitalized on Tuesday, residents of Waukesha were still trying to piece together what had transpired in their usually quiet downtown over the weekend. With suburban Milwaukee public schools closed again on Tuesday, flags flew at half mast and buses displayed the “Waukesha Strong” message.
Police provided only limited details of the attack and did not respond to questions about whether the domestic incident which Mr Brooks was accused of having fled was the reported brawl in the park. No similar dispute was discussed in the minutes leading up to the attack on a Waukesha Police scanner feed posted online by Broadcastify.
Greg Legate, who lives about half a mile from the end of the parade route, said he called the police on Sunday night after coming across a stranger, later identified as Mr. Brooks, standing on the porch of his next door neighbor. Mr Legate said he had just returned home from the parade, where he and his family saw an older woman hit by the SUV flying through the air and landing on the sidewalk in front of them, apparently dead.
“I knew they were looking for someone and thought it was the parade guy because that was the direction he was heading,” Mr. Legate said.
When he first approached his neighbor and Mr. Brooks, Mr. Legate sensed something was wrong. His neighbor, he said, whose doorbell camera recorded footage of their meeting, seemed unaware of the manhunt at the time.
“I didn’t care if he was the guy or not,” Mr. Legate said, “it was my responsibility to call.”
Without saying a word, Mr. Legate circled the corner in the dark to dial 911, standing behind his house. Mr. Brooks, he said, “was just looking at me strangely.
“When I passed around the corner,” continued Mr. Legate, “he was looking around to see where I was going.”
To the dispatcher, Mr. Legate recalled saying, “The man you are looking for, I believe, is at my neighbor’s house.”
Within a minute of calling 911, he said, the police were there. Mr Legate said he and his friends sat in their car and watched as officers took Mr Brooks into custody.
“They were there with guns in hand and telling the man to put his hands up,” Legate said on Tuesday. “It was quick.”
Mr Brooks, who did not speak in court, had been arrested several times in the Milwaukee area over the years, charged at various times with assault and battery and domestic violence and resisting police . Prosecutors spent several minutes Tuesday describing his criminal record in several counties in Wisconsin, as well as a sex crime in Nevada, where there is an active arrest warrant, and a recent arrest in Georgia.
A woman who had a child with Mr Brooks almost two decades ago said in an interview on Tuesday that her mood flared easily. The woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she did not want her or her child to be publicly associated with Mr Brooks, said she knew he was having anger issues, but that he had never been violent towards her.
Just weeks ago, Milwaukee County prosecutors said Mr Brooks intentionally ran over another woman he knew with a brown Ford Escape.
Prosecutors said they erred in recommending a $ 1,000 cash bond in the case. Mr Brooks posted that bond and was then held for a few days pending transfer to Waukesha County on a warrant issued for unpaid child support. He was sent to Waukesha Prison on November 16 and released later that day after telling a judge he did not pay child support because he was jailed in Georgia.
Days after his release, on what had been a night of celebration, with a beloved parade returning from a pandemic hiatus and children lining the streets, Mr Brooks was back in Waukesha. Police and prosecutors said he appeared to be maximizing damage as he rampaged down the parade route.
“It appears there was either panic or something or an intentional act for some reason,” Mr. Costello said. “You don’t do well under pressure. “
Shaila Dewan and Robert chiarito contributed report. Kitty bennett contributed research.
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