Parade incident driver to be charged with homicide

Wisconsin officials will seek to charge a driver who ploughed into a Christmas parade on Sunday with five counts of intentional homicide.

It comes as hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil in Waukesha to remember those who lost their lives.

Darrell Edward Brooks Jr, 39, killed five people, aged between 52 and 81, and injured 48 others, including young children, in Waukesha.

Police say he was fleeing a domestic dispute when he mowed into the crowd.

Waukesha police also said the incident was not an act of terrorism. Several school children and grandparents were among the victims.

They include members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, who are a regular fixture in the city’s parades.

“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages,” the group wrote in a statement on Facebook. “Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies.”

On Monday night hundreds of people gathered for a candlelight vigil at Waukesha’s Cutler Park to remember the victims. Braving freezing conditions, community members listened as an interfaith service read out the names of the victims and volunteers handed out sandwiches, hot chocolate and candles to mourners.

Mayor Shawn Reilly told the crowd that the event was the “beginning of many nights where we will grieve and mourn for those we lost”.

Dozens of people still remain in hospital. Police said the injured were taken to six area hospitals by first responders as well as other residents who were at the parade.

Eighteen children were admitted after the incident, the Children’s Wisconsin pediatric hospital told reporters on Monday.

Care providers described the incident as one of the state’s largest mass casualty events involving children in recent history. Physicians said some children sustained serious head injuries and broken bones.

The injured range in age from three to 16 and include three sets of siblings, medical staff said. Ten children required treatment in the intensive care unit.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said one of its priests, multiple parishioners and students at a local Catholic school were also among the injured. -BBC

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