Doorbell Video Appears to Show Arrest of Suspect in Deadly Christmas Parade Crash

The homeowner said he let the suspect into his home because he appeared homeless and had asked to use his phone

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Doorbell camera video appears to show the arrest of a suspect believed to have been behind the wheel of an SUV that plowed into a crowd of people at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, over the weekend.

The footage, dated Nov. 21, shows what appears to be 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr. telling a homeowner he is homeless and was waiting for an Uber.

Seconds later, as he stands on the porch of the home, police are seen pulling up on the street and telling him to put his hands up. Brooks puts his hands in the air while shouting "woah, woah woah" at approaching officers.

It's unclear if Brooks was placed under arrest at the scene but video shows him being surrounded by authorities.

The time stamp on the footage is just after 5 p.m., about 20 minutes after an SUV slammed into the parade crowd in the Milwaukee suburb, killing at least five people and wounding more than 40 others.

The footage was shared with NBC News by 24-year-old Daniel Rider, who said he has lived in the area since March 2020.

Rider had been on a hunting trip for much of the weekend and said he was at home watching football when Brooks knocked on his door. He was unaware of what had happened in town just minutes earlier.

"This gentleman comes up and starts pounding on my door and my Ring doorbell goes off and I go and look and he's saying that he's homeless and he needs to use my phone," Rider told NBC. "I opened the door and I look and he's like, 'Hey man, I need to use your phone. I need to use your phone. I'm freezing out here.' He didn't have any shoes on. He was wearing a t-shirt and it's freezing cold out and so I'm like, 'Oh my gosh.' He's like, 'I'm homeless, man. I need to use your phone to get an Uber back to Milwaukee.'"

Rider said he eventually allowed Brooks into the house, gave him a jacket and made him a sandwich before giving Brooks his phone to make a phone call. Rider said he noticed police cars driving by during that time but was still unaware of what had happened.

"So I still am oblivious to anything happening in Waukesha and all of a sudden I look outside my street and I see a few cop cars drive by and I'm getting extra nervous. I was already nervous to begin with with him being in the house. So I saw cop cars drive by and I tell him, 'You gotta get out of my house now. And so he was actually pretty compliant. He said 'Are you sure? Why what's going on? What's going on.' I said, 'You gotta leave. You gotta leave.'" 

Brooks walked outside and ultimately gave Rider his phone and jacket back.

"I go back inside. I locked the door. I'm freaking out a little bit. I know my neighbor is calling 9-1-1," Rider said. "And he comes back to my door and starts pounding on the door and saying 'My ID, I left my ID.'" 

That moment is captured on the doorbell video just as police begin approaching the home.

Rider said he felt compelled to let Brooks into his home at first because he said he was homeless.

"I was just at church Sunday morning or just was listening to church on the radio and the message was 'Be a light in the world to the homeless and the needy' and so I thought this was my chance, at the time when he came. I could help somebody out and It was definitely not what I wanted," Rider said.

Rider said Brooks had his phone at the time he would have received messages about the parade tragedy that had just unfolded.

"He was on my phone for a long time. So that's, that's why I didn't get any of the messages about somebody on the loose and about the incident," Rider said.

Waukesha police have not commented on the video, Brooks' arrest or Rider's account of events.

Brooks, of Milwaukee, is being charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide in connection with the deadly crash and is expected to appear in court Tuesday.

The joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms gave way in an instant Sunday to screams and the sight of crumpled bodies as the SUV sped through barricades and struck dancers, musicians and others

The incident happened at approximately 4:39 p.m., when the vehicle went through a barricade at Gasper Avenue and Main Street and then proceeded to drive into the crowd, Thompson said.

The parade was live-streamed on Facebook, and a portion of the video showed a red SUV driving through the parade at what appeared to be a high rate of speed followed by gasps and sirens.

One video shows the SUV striking what appears to be members of a marching band and several others along the parade route before driving on. The sound of the marching band heard before the SUV approaches is replaced by screams.

An 81-year-old man, a 79-year-old woman and a 71-year-old woman were among the five killed, police said at a news conference. The other victims were two 52-year-old women.

Another 48 people were hurt when the suspect "intentionally drove his maroon SUV through barricades into a crowd of people," police said.

At least nine patients — most of them children — were listed in critical condition Monday at two hospitals, and seven others were reported in serious condition.

How to Help Victims of Waukesha Christmas Parade Tragedy

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson during a press conference on Monday said officers were not pursuing the suspect when he entered the parade route, however, an officer did fire a shot to try to stop him but ceased firing because of the danger to others.

Thompson said there is no evidence the crash on Sunday was a terrorist attack.

Law enforcement sources earlier told NBC News Brooks was involved in a domestic stabbing incident before the crash. It was not clear who the victim was and the exact circumstances surrounding the incident were not yet clear.

Though no charges have officially been filed, NBC 5 Investigates uncovered the suspect's lengthy criminal history in Wisconsin. Court records indicate he recently bonded out of jail after a Nov. 5 arrest for resisting a police officer, bail jumping, 2nd degree recklessly endangering public safety, domestic abuse and battery.

The Milwaukee District Attorney's office said Monday it had requested a cash bail of $1,000, which was granted by the court, a decision the office now says is under review.

"The state’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks," the office said in a statement. "The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail. This office is currently conducting an internal review of the decision to make the recent bail recommendation in this matter in order to determine the appropriate next steps."

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul tweeted late Sunday that the investigation was ongoing, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on Facebook that they were performing at the Waukesha Christmas Parade when tragedy struck

Waukesha officials advised anyone who may need to talk with someone about the experience of the scene to call 211.

An FBI spokesperson said its Milwaukee field office was aware of the incident and that local and state authorities were leading the response. The White House is also monitoring the situation, according to a statement.

A Wisconsin alderman who was walking in the Waukesha Christmas Parade recounts the moments he saw an SUV speed into the crowd, killing at least five people and wounding dozens of others.

The parade is sponsored by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. This year’s edition was the 59th of the event that’s held each year the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 55 miles (90 kilometers) north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from the shooting of three men during unrest in that city in August 2020.

Associated Press/NBC Chicago
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