One red SUV crashed yesterday Sunday on unsuspecting people, among them little schoolgirls with pom-poms, who participated in a traditional Christmas parade in Wokesa, in the state Wisconsin (northern USA), resulting in injure more than 20 and cause deaths, according to police.
THE Dan Thompson, the chief of police in this city of 72,000 inhabitants, some 32 miles from Milwaukee, said that a person of interest has been detained and that the car that was used is in the hands of the authorities.
“The vehicle hit more than 20 people. “Many of the victims are children and there are some deaths.” Mr Thompson told reporters.
When asked how many there are dead, the police chief limited himself to saying that “I do not have an exact number at this time.”
He added, as broadcast by ΑΜΠΕ, that it is not yet clear whether it was a terrorist act.
He noted that the order given to citizens in the city center to seek the nearest shelter has now been lifted.
Mr Thompson confirmed that at least a police officer opened fire against the red SUV, without injuring any of the people who participated in the parade or watched it. He added that from what he knows, there were no fires inside the vehicle.
In video posted on social networking sites, the SUV is pictured moving fast towards the ears of people parading and hitting over ten.
Spectators run to offer help. In another video, a police officer is pictured shooting at the car before it falls on bars set up for the parade.
A woman told local television station Fox6 that the SUV mainly hit schoolgirls aged 9 to 15, members of a dance group that took part in the parade. It was reported that there was silence at first, then screams were heard and people started running to the spot to help, Fox6 reported.
According to another eyewitness, the car had developed speed between 60 and 70 kilometers when it hit people.
The injured were taken to hospital by ambulance, patrol cars and cars of relatives and friends. The Wisconsin Children’s Hospital reported via Twitter that 15 people had been admitted by 20:00, of whom no one had succumbed.
The schools in Wokesa will remain closed today and psychologists will be available for students who may need support, the local education directorate said.
In 2016, a truck crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. The jihadist organization took responsibility Islamic state (ΙΚ). Earlier that year, a truck crashed into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, killing 84 people. The IK also took responsibility.
The Wokesa tragedy came at the end of a week marked by tensions in Wisconsin, where young far-right Kyle Ritenhaus was acquitted in his trial for the murders of two men amid riots during anti-police violence in Kenomitra, just 80 km away.