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Bail set for Waukesha suspect; complaint alleges he sped up in crowd

Darrell Brooks, left, speaks with a lawyer during his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23,...
Darrell Brooks, left, speaks with a lawyer during his initial appearance, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wis.(Mark Hoffman | Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, Pool)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 6:37 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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WAUKESHA, Wis. (WMTV) - The driver behind the wheel of a red SUV sped up as he plowed through groups of people at the Waukesha Christmas parade on Sunday, a criminal complaint alleges.

The complaint was released Tuesday, shortly before the driver, Darrell Brooks, Jr., appeared in a Waukesha Co. courtroom for the first time. He currently faces five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, and is expected to have another one added soon after prosecutors revealed in court that a child had become the sixth victim to die from their injuries.

Prosecutors spent more than ten minutes of the hearing reading off Brooks’ prior convictions and pending charges, which spanned three states. During the hearing, Brooks could be heard crying during the proceeding, leaning over with his head nearly in his lap, with his attorney resting a hand on his back.

Agreeing to the prosecution’s request that bail being set at $5 million, Waukesha Co. Court Commissioner Kevin Costello reflected on the details he found in the complaint, saying, “I’m an old guy who has been doing this for almost 40 years as a criminal defense attorney - 17 or 18 years as a (court) commissioner in Milwaukee and now Waukesha - the nature of this offense is shocking.

Brooks will likely appear in court next on Jan. 14, 2022.

According to the complaint, a City of Waukesha Police Department detective saw the red Ford Escape driving southbound on White Rock Avenue and honking its horn. People began to spread out and some jumped out of the way, police say.

The detective recounted pounding on the hood of the vehicle and asking the driver to stop, but the vehicle continued driving and turned westbound on East Main Street. Brooks had been driving slowly, but the detective says he saw the vehicle drive faster as it entered the parade procession, striking multiple parade participants and spectators who were standing on the side of the street.

Another officer who viewed the SUV plow through the crowd said he also yelled “stop, stop the vehicle” multiple times. He estimated the vehicle’s speed to be about 25 miles per hour as it drove through an open lane between the parade participants and spectators.

The complaint continues, saying the officer noted Brooks was “looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face.”

Darrell Brooks
Darrell Brooks(via NBC)

Brooks then allegedly increased his speed as he drove through the procession westbound on East Main Street as he used his horn. The officer said it appeared the driver then used his brakes on East Main Street and NW W Barstow Street, but then the vehicle rapidly accelerated. The officer said he heard tires squeal and then saw the vehicle turn left abruptly into a crowd of parade participants.

The officer alleges that this was an intentional act to “strike and hurt as many people as possible.”

A third police officer, identified as Officer Scholten, shot at the vehicle three times and struck it all three times, the complaint noted.

The complaint states that in addition to the five people that have died from the incident, 62 people were injured. Some were reported in critical condition.

The Waukesha County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the cause of death for the five people who died during the incident was multiple blunt force injuries.

A witness who spoke with a detective said they saw the vehicle drive in a zig-zag motion.

“There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down,” the witness told police.

Prosecutors plan to file a sixth first degree intentional homicide charge against Brooks after the death of an 8-year-old boy Tuesday. He already faces five homicide charges in connection with the other deaths stemming from the tragedy.

Brooks appeared in a Waukesha Co. courtroom for the first time Tuesday to face those initial charges. He could be heard crying during the proceeding, leaning over with his head nearly in his lap, with his attorney resting a hand on his back.

Brooks had been free on $1,000 bail for a case in Milwaukee County earlier in November in which he’s accused of intentionally striking a woman with his car. Prosecutors said they’re investigating their bail recommendation in that case, calling it inappropriately low.

First-degree intentional homicide can carry the stiffest penalty possible under Wisconsin law — mandatory life in prison.

-The Associated Press contributed to this article. Scott Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.

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