Waukesha suspect Brooks appears to weep in court after formally charged in attack on Christmas parade

The career criminal who has been charged with killing five people at a parade in Waukesha, Wis., was ordered held on a $5 million bond during his initial court appearance Tuesday, as prosecutors indicated another murder charge is likely coming after a sixth victim, a child, died following the attack on Sunday.

“There are not words to describe the risk this defendant presents to our community,” prosecutor Susan Opper told Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello in court regarding Darrell Brooks, 39, who will remain behind bars for the rest of his life if he is convicted.

“Not only flight risk but the dangerousness that he presents, his history of violence and the allegations in this complaint where it is stated plainly that on several occasions he was told to stop by police officers,” Opper added, according to the New York Post. “They risked their own safety to try and step in front of the car to stop him.”

Brooks was out on an “inappropriately low” bond when he allegedly drove his SUV through the parade, striking participants and spectators alike. In addition to six deaths, more than 40 other people were injured.

“Everything was done to get him to stop, and he just simply continued down the roadway causing death and destruction in his path,” Opper noted.

Brooks, who has a lengthy criminal history, has been charged so far with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Opper said he will be charged with a sixth count after Jackson Sparks, 8, succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday stemming from the vehicular attack.

Each count of homicide carries a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole since Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

“I wish to notify the court sadly that today we learned of another death of a child related to this case,” Opper said. “We do expect a sixth count for first-degree intentional homicide to be issued, or added, excuse me, to this case.”

“I can advise the court that I am aware … that there are other individuals in critical condition,” she continued.

At one point during the proceedings, Brooks bowed his head and appeared to be crying as Costello read through his long criminal history.

YouTube screengrab

Police say Brooks was running from a domestic disturbance when he raced past police barricades and into the parade route, plowing through marchers and spectators alike. In all, police say 62 people were injured in the attack; some children hit by the SUV remain in critical condition.

The victims included a young girls’ dance troupe and the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, the latter group of which said they lost three of their members to the attack.

According to the criminal complaint, police said that Brooks was displaying “no emotion on his face” as he drove through the crowds and mowed people down. Videos posted online following the attack show some people being run over by his vehicle.

Two police officers attempted to stop the vehicle by yelling at the driver and banging on the hood of the SUV but were thrown aside as the driver refused to stop, according to the complaint. Previous reports said that one officer fired at the vehicle as well in a failed attempt to stop it.

One officer noted that he “heard tires squeal” as the SUV turned towards a crowd.

“At this point, it was clear to Officer (Bryce) Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible,” said the complaint.

Prosecutors noted that Brooks was released on just a $1,000 bond after he was arrested earlier this month on charges of hitting the mother of his child with his fist and then striking her with his vehicle at a gas station as she walked away.

“The vehicle in that matter … is believed to be the same maroon 2010 Ford Escape used in the allegations in this case,” said Opper, according to The Post.

Jon Dougherty


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