Tragedy in Waukesha

By: - November 22, 2021 8:47 am
Police tape with red and blue lights blurred from behind it.

“Police Crime Scene Tape” by JobsForFelonsHub is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Five people are dead and more than 40 injured after an SUV plowed through the crowd at the Waukesha Christmas parade Sunday afternoon. 

Waukesha schools were closed for the day on Monday, with additional school counselors available at all school buildings for students who needed support. “At this time we are working with the police department to more fully comprehend all of the tragic details of this unfortunate event,” James Sebert, the Waukesha schools superintendent, said in a statement. “A decision for school on Tuesday will be made during the day on Monday.”

Gov. Tony Evers ordered flags to half-staff from sunrise to sunset Monday as a mark of respect for the victims of the tragedy. On Sunday evening Evers released a statement saying, “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.”

Waukesha police said a person of interest had been taken into custody and the SUV that drove into the parade was recovered. 

A number of people, including at least 12 children, were taken to various local hospitals, according to Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson.

The red SUV plowed into a high school band marching in the annual Christmas parade and struck dozens of people at 4:39 pm. ABC News reported that multiple law enforcement sources said the driver was likely fleeing from another crime and not aiming to hit the parade.

Roads and businesses near Main Street along the parade route remained closed Monday morning, and police asked people to stay away from the scene.

The Waukesha police department Facebook page posted a phone number for the Disaster Distress Hotline; people  experiencing emotional distress can call or text 800-985-5990 to be connected to a counselor 24 hours a day. 

The Waukesha County Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County have created the United for Waukesha Community Fund to help the families affected by the tragedy. 


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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. Her book "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel Award from The New Press.