Waukesha, WI – The career criminal accused of mowing down at least 53 people during a Christmas parade on Sunday was out on bond at the time of the deadly attack after prosecutors recommended an “inappropriately low” bail amount on another pending matter, according to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm.
Five people were killed and at least 48 more were injured in the attack, police confirmed Monday afternoon, according to The Post Millennial.
Some of the victims were children.
Chisholm released a statement Monday saying his office is currently conducting “an internal review” into why one of his prosecutors recommended a $1,000 cash bail for 39-year-old Darrell Brooks on other pending charges earlier this month.
Brooks was originally charged with felon in possession of a firearm and two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety on July 27, 2020, the district attorney said.
On Nov. 5, he was charged with felony bail jumping, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, obstructing an officer, battery, and disorderly conduct in connection with a separate case.
“The State made a cash bail request in this case of $1,000, which was set by the court,” Chisolm wrote. “The defendant posted $1,000 cash bail on November 11, resulting in his release from custody.”
One of the recent cases involves allegations Brooks barged into a woman’s hotel room, stole her cell phone, and later punched her and ran her over with a vehicle when he saw her out walking to a nearby gas station, according to FOX News.
Another pending case involves allegations Brooks shot at his nephew.
The nephew was not hit by the gunfire, according to investigators.
Brooks, a rapper who goes by the name of “Mathboi Fly,” has racked up a slew of criminal offenses dating back to 1999, FOX News reported.
He’s currently a Tier 2 registered sex offender in Nevada.
Brooks’ first felony conviction in Wisconsin occurred in 1999, when he was convicted of taking part in an aggravated burglary, FOX News reported.
He was sentenced to three years on probation for that incident.
Brooks was convicted of a felony marijuana offense in 2002, and of obstructing an officer in both 2003 and 2005, according to FOX News.
He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor bail jumping and marijuana offenses in 2012, and to resisting arrest and felony marijuana offenses in 2013.
In his statement on Monday, Chisholm criticized his office’s low bond recommendation in the most recent pending Milwaukee County case.
“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,” he wrote. “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,” the district attorney added.
Investigators said they are still trying to determine a potential motive for the attack on the paradegoers, The Washington Post reported.
The Waukesha Police Department (WPD) said in a statement the suspect “intentionally drove” through the barricades and “into a crowd of people,” according to The Post Millennial.
The WPD said investigators are “confident he acted alone” and said there is “no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.”
Brooks has been charged with five counts of intentional homicide in connection with the attack, WBBM reported.
He faces a potential life sentence if convicted.
The Waukesha Fire Department (WFD) activated its “mass casualty protocols” and rushed 23 victims to local hospitals in the wake of the incident, WFD Chief Steven Howard said, according to The Washington Post.
Twelve of the victims transported were children.
Many other victims were transported to the hospital by private vehicles, according to the Associated Press.
Children’s Wisconsin hospital in Milwaukee is treating 18 children, FOX News reported.
Thirteen patients remained hospitalized at Aurora Medical Center-Summit on Monday morning, according to USA Today.
Three of those 13 patients were listed in critical condition, four were listed in serious condition, and six were listed in fair condition, the hospital said in a statement.
The incident occurred after families lined the Main Street parade route as the joyous festivities got underway at approximately 4 p.m. on Nov. 21, The Washington Post reported.
“I walked in the parade at the beginning,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly told the paper. “I saw all the happy children sitting on the curb. I saw all the happy parents behind their children. I can still see the smiling faces.”
About 40 minutes later, the SUV barreled through safety barricades and started plowing into people.
The suspect sped down the parade route as several officers chased after the SUV on foot, The Washington Post reported.
Moments later, multiple emergency vehicles whizzed down Main Street with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said an officer fired at the suspect’s SUV at one point in an attempt to stop the driver from mowing down more people, The Washington Post reported.
No bystanders were injured by the gunfire, and the police chief said he didn’t know if the driver of the SUV was hit, according to the Associated Press.
Investigators said they do not believe the driver of the SUV fired any shots during the incident, The Washington Post reported.
Videos of the mayhem were shared widely online.
Waukesha School District Board Member Corey Montiho said he and his family were watching his daughter’s dance team’s performance when the SUV barreled down the street, hitting several of his daughter’s team members, The Washington Post reported.
“I saw bodies and kids and dads not breathing,” Montiho told the paper.
His daughter escaped without injuries, but several of her teammates remained in critical condition early Monday morning, he said.
Angelito Tenorio told the Associated Press he heard a “loud bang” shortly before the terror erupted.
“After that, we just heard deafening cries and screams from the crowd, from the people at the parade,” Tenorio recounted. “And people started rushing, running away with tears in their eyes, crying.”
“After the crowd had cleared out, that’s when I saw what looked like people who were laying on the ground, lifeless,” said Tenorio.
One father searching for his daughter said he began going from body to body, the Associated Press reported.
“There were pompoms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere,” he said. “I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter… My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”
Mikey Randa, 14, said he saw a young girl being hit by the SUV as he was marching in the parade with his high school football teammates, The New York Times reported.
“The car just flew past us, there was a lot of panic,” Randa said.
The teen said he saw five or six bodies on the pavement after the vehicle sped off, The New York Times reported.
“I’m still in a bit of a shock,” Randa said.
Sandra Peterson, a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said multiple parishioners, a Catholic priest, and several Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren were among the victims, the Associated Press reported.
“There were small children laying all over the road, there were police officers and EMTs doing CPR on multiple members of the parade,” Aspire Dance Center co-owner Chris Germain told the news outlet.
Tyler Kotlarek said the driver appeared to be hitting people on purpose, The New York Times reported.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Kotlarek said. “He was going from side to side, targeting people. The car bombed through. He was flying through there going intentionally from left to right.”
Peggy Tom, 58, said one of her friends is among the injured, The New York Times reported.
Tom recalled seeing “piles of instruments…. and shoes” as she searched for her friend.
Investigators said they believe Brooks may have been fleeing the scene of a knife fight when he drove into the parade route, according to Newsweek.