Darrell Brooks Jr. was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted.
An 8-year-old boy became the sixth person to die Tuesday as a result of a man driving his SUV into a suburban Milwaukee Christmas parade, with a criminal complaint alleging that the suspect in the case steered side-to-side with the intent of striking marchers and spectators.
Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. He rocked back and forth in his seat and cried throughout his court hearing on Tuesday, his attorney’s arm on his back, as the charges against him were detailed. His bail was set at $5 million, and a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Jan. 14.
“The nature of this offense is shocking,” said Waukesha Court Commissioner Kevin Costello.
Additional charges related to the sixth death and the more than 60 people injured will be coming later this week or next, said Waukesha County District Attorney Susan Opper. The criminal complaint said 62 people were injured, up from the 48 previously announced by police.
Brooks is accused of speeding away from police and entering the Waukesha Christmas parade on Sunday night, refusing to stop even as an officer banged on the hood of his SUV. Another officer fired three shots into the vehicle, but it did not stop.
Five people ranging in age from 52 to 81 were pronounced dead within hours. Jackson Sparks, 8, was the first and only one of the many injured children to have died. He was walking in the parade with his 12-year-old brother Tucker, who was injured in the crash and was being discharged from the hospital, according to his GoFundMe page.
“This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the page’s organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote.
The city’s livestream video and bystander video captured the chaotic scene when an SUV sped along the parade route and then into the crowd. Several of those injured remain in critical condition.
According to the criminal complaint, witnesses told police that the vehicle “appeared to be intentionally moving side to side,” with no attempt to slow down or stop as it struck multiple people and sent bodies and objects flying.
Brooks ignored several attempts to stop him, according to the criminal complaint.
A detective _ wearing police insignia and a neon orange safety vest _ stepped in front of Brooks’ vehicle and pounded on the hood, shouting “Stop,” several times but Brooks drove past him, according to the complaint.
A uniformed police officer who saw Brooks’ SUV traveling toward the parade route also tried to get his attention, yelling “Stop, stop the vehicle” several times but was ignored, according to the complaint. The officer “observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face,” the complaint said.
Brooks braked at one point, but instead of turning away from the parade route, he turned into the crowd and appeared to rapidly accelerate, the complaint said.