The horror began at 4.39pm on East Main Street in the town of Waukesha, 20 miles outside of Milwaukee, when a red Ford Escape was captured on camera barreling towards parade crowds as cops gave chase.
Moments later the vehicle slammed into the back of marchers, barely pausing before ramming its way down three packed city blocks and leaving injured people scattered in its wake.
The SUV then smashed through barriers partially blocking the parade route, dodging a cop who fired his handgun at the driver before disappearing. The vehicle was then recovered at an unknown location some time later, with police saying that a ‘person of interest’ had been detained.
That man has now been identified as Darrell Brooks Jr, 39, from Milwaukee. Social media profiles reveal he is an amateur rapper, while court documents show he has a lengthy criminal history and had two open felony cases against him at the time of the rampage.
Police have not officially arrested Brooks or said what they believe his motive was. Investigators say they have not discounted terrorism, but are also believed to be looking into whether he was fleeing the scene of a nearby knife attack when the carnage unfolded.
It comes just days after Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted of shooting two people dead an injuring a third in Kenosha, which is just 35 miles from where Sunday’s tragedy took place.
Here, MailOnline retraces how scenes of joy and celebration were turned to fear and desperation within a matter of a few blood-soaked moments…
The Waukesha Christmas parade got underway at 4pm on Sunday (1). Roughly 40 minutes later, a red SUV was seen speeding along the route (2) before narrowly missing a little girl dancing beside the road (3). It continued down Main Street until the driver plowed into a marching band (4) and then a group of girls carrying pompoms (5). Video later showed dozens of injured people lying in the road in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic (6). Having turned left at the bottom of the street, the driver rammed through a barricade and drove off as police fired at the car (7)
1) Parade gets underway
Waukesha’s annual Christmas parade, which was cancelled last year due to Covid, gets underway at 4pm with a starting point at the intersection of Main Street, White Rock Avenue and Pleasant Street.
The parade features marching bands, classic cars, local dance troupes, floats and other community groups, who will walk roughly a mile through the center of town before finishing on North Grand Avenue.
Hundreds of people, mostly young families, line the route which has been partly blocked off by police. They sit on camping chairs or else stand beside the road, with officers posted at intervals along the route
The City of Waukesha’s annual Christmas parade, delayed from last year, gets underway at 4pm on Sunday. It features marching bands, classic cars, floats and dance troupes who are due to process roughly a mile through the town centre
2) SUV speeds along route
At 4.39pm, a red Ford Escape is first caught on camera driving west along Main Street in the same direction the parade is heading. The SUV, which is speeding, is seen driving past an apartment building with a police officer giving chase on foot.
Nobody is hit by the car at this point, with the driver seeming to direct the vehicle between the marchers and spectators sitting at the side of the road
This is the first known image captured of the SUV as it speeds towards the parade, just yards from where the route started. The car is seen driving at speed down the street, with a cop giving chase on foot
3) Car narrowly misses little girl
In the first hint of the carnage to come, the SUV is filmed passing close to a little girl dressed in pink clothing who is dancing a short distance from the curb.
The car misses the girl by inches, before heading further down the street to where the first pedestrian is known to have been hit.
Just a few feet from where the first video was captured, a second piece of footage shows the car narrowly missing a little girl who is dancing close to the curb as it speeds along
4) Marching band is struck
Video taken from above shows the moment the car plows into the back of a marching band, running over several members of the band as they march close to the pavement. This is the first video evidence of people being hit.
After knocking the band members down, the car runs into a group of people further up the street and briefly slows down, before again speeding away.
Video captured overlooking the street captures the car hitting a marching band – who are the first people known to have been struck. Around a dozen members of the band are hit before the car speeds away again
5) Pompom dancers are hit
The SUV next appears in footage taken a short distance down the street, which shows pompom dancers in the procession marching towards a crowded intersection.
In a moment, the scene of calm is turned to carnage as the vehicle speeds through the crowd, scattering bodies across the road. The crowd quickly breaks up, with some running to help as others flee for their lives.
Girls waving pompoms and marching in the parade along with people collecting donations are seen on Main Street in Waukesha moment before the car plowed through (left), and again moments afterwards (right)
6) Injured people litter the street
Jordan Woynilko had just stepped out of a pub on main street that faced the parade route when he was confronted by a scene of carnage – people laying in the road with others desperately trying to keep them alive.
As he walked down the street, he captured footage of at least a dozen people lying on the floor in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic.
The clinic sits along the parade route, which the driver appears to have followed before turning left as Main Street reached its end, leading on to a junction with Wisconsin Avenue.
Jordan Woynilko, who filmed the video above, described walking out of a pub along the parade route into a scene of despair and desperation as people tried to help those wounded by the speeding driver
People tend to victims left lying in the streets of Waukesha in footage filmed by a witness who described seeing mothers and fathers calling for their children in the aftermath of the chaos
7) Car escapes as cop opens fire
Grainy footage reveals the moment the car sped away from the scene, pushing through a police barrier blocking off a street as an officer in a fluorescent vest opens fire.
At least three gunshots are heard as people scream in the background, with the car heading off down Wisconsin Avenue at speed.
Some time later, the police recovered the vehicle with a picture showing it parked in a driveway with the hood battered and bent up. It is not clear how the vehicle came to be there.
Officers said they had taken a ‘person of interest’ into custody. On Monday, he was named locally as 39-year-old Darrel Brooks Jr – though police have yet to confirm.
Investigators also did not give a motive for the crime, though when asked said they could not rule out terrorism.
Police are also believed to be investigating whether the suspect was fleeing a knife crime that had taken place nearby around 4.30pm, before heading towards the parade
Reports indicate that the driver plowed through barricades and slammed into a holiday parade, injuring some 20 people, among them elderly women. The driver is also alleged to have fired gunshots