Waukesha Christmas parade crash: Suspect charged with 6th count of first-degree homicide

MILWAUKEE — Darrell Brooks Jr., the man accused of driving his vehicle into the Waukesha Christmas Parade on Nov. 21, was charged Monday with a sixth count of first-degree intentional homicide, according to the Waukesha County District Attorney Office.

According to an amended criminal complaint, the charge is in connection with the death of a child who was struck in the attack and died two days later.

The child is not named in the complaint and instead is referred to as Victim F.

Jackson Sparks’ death was announced on his verified GoFundMe page and was confirmed by his baseball club and his family’s church to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He was 8. His 12-year-old brother, Tucker, was also struck and injured when he was hit by the SUV at the parade.

Tucker is among more than 60 people who were injured at the parade. Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper could file attempted homicide or reckless endangerment and reckless injury charges related to other victims.

She has not indicated when those decisions might be made.

At least one child is still on a ventilator and several children from the Xtreme dance team, who were performing at the parade, remain in the ICU, according to recent updates to GoFundMe pages. Conditions of many of the adults who were injured are unknown.

Related:Jackson Sparks, an 8-year-old boy, becomes the first child to die from injuries in the Waukesha Christmas Parade

Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, made his initial court appearance last Tuesday, and was charged with five counts of intentional first-degree homicide. According to online court records, Circuit Judge Michael Bohren reviewed the amended complaint and will address it at Brooks’ next scheduled hearing Jan. 14.

At the initial hearing last week, Opper cited Brooks’ long record of convictions around Wisconsin and in other states and asked for a $5 million bail. Court Commissioner Kevin Costello called the amount extraordinary but fitting for this case.

According to the criminal complaint, Brooks had several options to exit the parade route, but instead increased his speed and plowed into the crowd. Witnesses told police he appeared to be zig-zagging in an attempt to hit as many people as possible.

The parade had already started when Waukesha Police Detective Tom Casey saw a 2010 Ford Escape coming south down White Rock Avenue toward the parade. Casey stepped in front of the Escape, pounded on the hood of the car and repeatedly yelled at Brooks to stop.

Brooks drove past, while Casey ran after the Escape and radioed other police officers as the SUV began hitting people. Another officer, Officer Bryce Butryn, also tried to stop the vehicle.

Brooks was able to drive away from the parade route and tried to hide the car near Carrol University, the complaint said. He was later arrested at a house where he stopped and asked for help, saying he was homeless.

Police identified the initial five victims who died as Virginia Sorenson, 79; Leanna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Brooks is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 14.

Each homicide charge carries a mandatory life sentence.

Contributing: Sophie Carson and Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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