There are indications that the suspect who left at least five dead and more than 40 injured in Wisconsin, USA, was fleeing another incident by breaking into a car at a Christmas parade in the city of Waukesha.
The information comes from police sources linked to the case.
The sources say that, so far, there is no proof that the act was international or domestic terrorism. In addition, there is no evidence that it could be connected to the recent acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, a sniper who fired into the crowd in a racially charged act in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the sources said.
According to authorities, the number of victims could be higher. “Many people went to hospitals in the region on their own,” reported Waukesha Prefecture on this monday morning (22).
Witnesses described the horror of seeing people hit and lying on the ground after a red SUV passed a series of barricades and entered the route of the crowded parade on Main Street at around 4:39 pm local time.
This Monday morning, items left by the victims were still scattered at the scene of being run over while authorities tried to identify what had motivated the action.
Police Chief Daniel P. Thompson said officers are working in partnership with Waukesha County coroners to identify victims.
Thompson said there is “a suspicious person in custody” but did not say whether he was the driver of the vehicle or whether any arrests had been made.
The police officer told reporters on Sunday night (21st) that the initial results of the investigation were yet to provide any certainty, and said children were among the injured.
A police officer from Waukesha even fired to try to stop the driver, and no passersby were hit by the gunfire, the police chief said. Thompson added that he does not believe that any shots were fired from the vehicle into the crowd.
“The scene is safe and secure,” Thompson said.
Several of those hospitalized were in critical condition.
A video of the parade has been posted on the city’s Facebook page and shows a red SUV speeding past the parade, followed by a running police officer.
Aurora Medical Center-Summit, a hospital in Waukesha County, issued a statement saying it was treating 13 patients on Sunday night: three listed in critical condition, four in serious condition and six in reasonable condition.
“We are deeply saddened by today’s senseless tragedy and our hearts go out to the Waukesha community,” the hospital said in a statement.
Children’s Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital in Milwaukee, said it was treating 15 injured patients with no reported deaths as of Sunday night. Waukesha is about 32 km west of downtown Milwaukee.
Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee – the only Level I trauma center in southeastern Wisconsin – said it was also treating patients in the parade, but did not provide a specific number or conditions for the victims. Level I trauma centers usually treat critically ill patients.
“It hit at least two people right away and went over them”
A video taken by CNN shows the moment when the vehicle ran over pedestrians. A red SUV is seen hitting a person from the parade band. The vehicle then continues forward, hitting and running over others in the band and the crowd before pulling away.
Angela O’Boyle, who lives in a fifth-floor apartment overlooking the parade route, told CNN who was on the porch watching the party when the vehicle passed.
“The first thing I heard was screaming, I turned my head and saw the car arrive and crash into the band, who were passing by my porch at that point,” he said.
“It hit at least two people right away and ran over them. And then he continued down the road to Parque do Povo, which is at the end of the block – and he kept walking, he didn’t stop.”
Boyle said he heard screams and people shouting their children’s names, adding, “It wasn’t something I wanted to see…I was really scared.”
Kaylee Staral, an intern with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a local newspaper, who witnessed the incident, said, “Probably around 20 to 30 minutes into the parade, a red SUV came speeding into the middle of the street – there was a lot of screaming – and we thought maybe it was Santa Claus, but it was this red SUV running over a lot of people.”
Staral also says that he saw several people being injured. “Right in front of me, in the small spot where I was sitting, probably four people were down, so a lot of people ran to check on them,” Staral said. “I believe the four people in front of me were still breathing, but they were on the ground, not moving.”
The flags will be hoisted at half-mast on “all buildings, land and military installations” across the state, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers said on Monday (22).
“Today, I have ordered the United States and Wisconsin flags to be flown at half-mast as we continue to pray for the Waukesha community and for the children, loved ones and neighbors whose lives were forever changed by an unthinkable tragedy last night,” wrote the Governor on your Twitter account.
Roads in the area will remain closed for at least 24 hours, Thompson said. Businesses along the road where the disaster occurred are expected to remain closed on Monday, city officials said.
The city of Waukesha canceled classes this Monday and has not yet defined whether they will resume on Tuesday (23).
“The district will have additional counselors on this day in all school buildings for all students who may need support services,” school officials said in a statement.
The White House is in contact with state and local officials, according to an official, and President Joe Biden has been briefed.
“The White House is closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to all who have been affected by this horrific incident,” said a White House official. “We contacted state and local authorities to provide any support and assistance as needed.”
Shimon Prokupecz, Evan Perez, Claudia Dominguez, Alaa Elassar, Natasha Chen, Andy Rose, Arlette Saenz, and Conor Powell contributed to this report
(Translated text. Read the original here.)
Reference: CNN Brasil