Updated Nov 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Multiple fatalities after SUV plows into Christmas parade in Wisconsin

 Debris litters the street at a crime scene on November 21, 2021 in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Debris litters the street at a crime scene on November 21, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis. Photo: Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

A person of interest is in custody after an SUV plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday, killing five people and wounding more than 40 others, police said.

The latest: The Waukesha Police Department said in a statement early Monday that casualty numbers may change, noting that "many people have self-transported to area hospitals" following the incident in the city that's just west of Milwaukee.

  • The Waukesha School District said in a statement posted to its website that it had canceled classes Monday, but additional counselors would be available "for all students and staff in need of support services."

The big picture: Waukesha Police Department Chief Dan Thompson told a Sunday evening briefing that the vehicle appeared to approach people marching in the parade from behind in the incident, which happened at 4:39pm local time.

  • An officer shot at it in an effort to stop it as it crashed through barriers, Thompson said. "No bystanders were injured by a result of the weapon discharge," he added.
  • A City of Waukesha livestream and other videos from the scene show the SUV breaking through barriers and appearing to speed into the roadway as the parade took place, striking a youth dance team and a group of dancing grandmothers.
  • At least 12 minors were taken to the hospital, per Thompson. He told reporters earlier Sunday that a "suspect vehicle" had been recovered.
  • Police could not immediately confirm the cause of the incident.

From the scene: The Milwaukee Archdiocese said in a statement Sunday night that one of its priests was wounded "as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children."

  • The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said in an online post Sunday night that members of its group and volunteers who participated in the parade "were impacted," adding that the group "was waiting for word on their conditions."
  • Corey Montiho, a School District of Waukesha board member, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his daughter's youth dance team was struck by the vehicle.
  • "There were pompoms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere," Montiho said. "I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters were almost hit."

What they're saying: Mayor Shawn Reilly said at the briefing, "Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration."

  • Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted his gratitude for the first responders and "folks who acted quickly to help" in the tragedy and said he and his wife, Kathy Evers, were praying for all those "affected by this senseless act."
  • State Attorney General Josh Kaul confirmed the Justice Department was assisting with the response to the incident:

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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