Wisconsin Christmas Parade: What We Know So Far About the Deadly Incident

The Waukesha Police Department is set to give an update at 1 p.m.

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A celebratory Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, turned deadly when an SUV plowed into the crowd, turning what was meant to be a joyous occasion into a deadly and heartbreaking scene that killed at least five people and wounded more than 40 others.

Details are still unfolding about what exactly happened and officials are set to deliver updates Monday with new information.

Here's what we know so far.

What We Know About the Victims

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a group that describes themselves as "an award-winning-group of grannies that perform in about 25 parades each year from Memorial Day to Christmas," posted on Facebook early Monday that they were performing at the parade when the fatal incident occurred.

"Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts."

Wisconsin Christmas Parade Tragedy: 18 Kids Taken To Hospital, Some Still In Critical Condition

The post also mentioned that some of the fatalities included members of the group.

"Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed.....joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue....held us together."

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

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said one of its priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children, were injured in the incident.

Earlier in the evening, a pair of hospitals had reported treating 28 people, while police and local hospitals said at least 11 adults and 15 children were injured. Information about the severity of injuries wasn't immediately known, authorities said. "Some" fatalities were reported at the time, but police declined to provide a number of those who died, citing privacy of the victims' families.

As of 8 p.m., Children's Hospital of Wisconsin said it received 15 patients from the incident, with no fatalities reported at the time.

Aurora Medical Center in Summit was treating a total of 13 patients late Sunday: three in critical condition, four in serious condition and six in fair condition, according to a statement.

Waukesha Police Set to Give Update at 1 p.m.

The Waukesha Police Department is scheduled to provide an update 1 p.m. Video of the press conference will be streamed live in the player above.

'Person of Interest' in Custody, May Have Been Fleeing Earlier Crime

A “person of interest” was in custody, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said Sunday, but gave no details about the person or any possible motive.

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

While the investigation was in its early stages Monday morning, five sources in a position to be briefed told NBC News there has been no connection made to terrorism.

They also said at the current early stage the incident did not seem to be retaliation around the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, in which the jury returned a verdict on Friday clearing him of charges.

The incident may have transpired when a knife fight or stabbing occurred and then the person of interest in custody fled, according to four senior law enforcement officials who spoke to NBC News. They added this person may have a significant criminal history.

Police aren't looking for anyone else in connection with the vehicle incident, but may be seeking additional suspects in the knife fight, the sources said.

Though no charges had been filed as of Monday morning, NBC 5 Investigates uncovered the suspect's lengthy criminal history in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Governor Orders Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Victims

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers today ordered the flags of the United States and the state of Wisconsin to be flown at half-staff on as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragedy.

“Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act. I'm grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information," Evers said.

Waukesha School District Cancels Classes in Wake of Tragedy

The Waukesha School District canceled classes Monday, stating that they will have "additional counselors available" for students and staff.

In a letter, district leadership said school will be canceled for all students in grades 4K-12 on Monday, and counselors will be available during the day for students seeking support.

It remained unclear whether classes will resume Tuesday, with district officials saying that decision would be made Monday.

"Our thoughts are with everyone impacted, with all who witnessed the event, and with our entire community," they said.

Officials Say 5 Dead, More Than 40 Others Wounded

The city of Waukesha posted on its social media accounts late Sunday that it could confirm at least five died and more than 40 were injured, while noting that it was still collecting information and those numbers could change. The city's statement also noted that many people have been transported to hospitals.

The city did not release any additional information about those who died.

What Happened as SUV Plowed Into Crowd

Sunday's holiday 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.

At approximately 4:39 p.m. CT, an SUV went through a barricade at Gasper Avenue and Main Street and then proceeded to drive into the crowd that gathered for the parade, Thompson said.

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.

Dan Thompson, Waukesha Police Dept., and  Chief Steve Howard, Wauskeha Fire Dept., gave an update Sunday night after a car plowed into a crowd at the city’s Christmas parade.

Police said at one point an officer discharged their gun, firing shots at the suspect's vehicle in an attempt to stop it. No bystanders were injured by the gunfire, and Thompson said he did not know if the driver was struck by the officer’s bullets. They do not believe any shots were fired from inside the car.

The scene was said to be safe and secure in the hours following the incident, police said at an 8 p.m. news conference.

Main Street will remain closed from Barstow and Main to Wisconsin and Main until at least midday on Monday, the city said, and businesses in this area should remain closed.

Main Street will remain closed from Barstow and Main to Wisconsin and Main until at least midday on Monday, the city said, and businesses in this area should remain closed.

Waukesha Plans for Memorial at Veterans Park

The city said that once the area is reopened, space for a temporary memorial will be made at Veterans Park.

"The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured," the statement from Waukesha said. "We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers."

Waukesha city leaders spoke at a news conference Sunday following an incident in which multiple deaths occurred and at least 28 others were injured when a vehicle plowed into a Christmas parade.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said one of its priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children, were injured in the incident.

Witness Reports Hearing a Loud Bang Before Screams

Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, told The Associated Press that he was watching the parade with his family when they saw the SUV come speeding into the area.

“Then we heard a loud bang,” Tenorio said. “And after that, we just heard deafening cries and screams from the crowd, from the people at the parade. And people started rushing, running away with tears in their eyes crying.”

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.

Tenorio said he saw about 10 people, children and adults, on the ground who appeared to have been hit by the vehicle.

“It just happened so fast,” he said. “It was pretty horrifying.”

City Offers Help for Residents Who Need It

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 man was arrested and accused of driving a red SUV into a crowd at a Waukesha Christmas parade, officials said on Monday

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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