$5 million bail set for man accused of Waukesha Christmas Parade killings

By: - November 24, 2021 5:48 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

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, the man arrested for driving his SUV into a Christmas parade in Waukesha Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens, according to initial reports, made his first court appearance following the incident in Waukesha on Tuesday. During the appearance  prosecutors reported that a sixth death had occurred when a child who was in critical condition passed away — one of 16 admitted to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin after the incident. Brooks faces five consecutive life sentences, with more charges on the way, prosecutors said. At least 40 people were injured, including children who remain in critical condition.

Waukesha Police Department Chief Dan Thompson said this was not an act of terror, and that Brooks acted alone. Thompson stated that Brooks was a suspect in a domestic disturbance prior to driving through the city’s Christmas parade. Thompson, as well as officers who were at the parade, say that Brooks appeared to intentionally drive through the crowd.

Prosecutors highlighted Brooks’ lengthy history with the criminal justice system. Dating back to 2000, Brooks has records in Wisconsin, Nevada, and Georgia. In a case dating to Nov. 5, 2021, Brooks was charged in Milwaukee County with resisting and obstructing, felony bail jumping, second degree reckless endangering safety, and other charges. Prosecutors stated Brooks is alleged to have struck the mother of his child with a fist and then attempted to run her over with the same vehicle he was driving when he was arrested on  Sunday. Brooks’ bail was set at $5 million.

“I have no problem with the bail being recommended by the state. I’m an old guy who has been doing this for almost 40 years,” Judge Kevin Costello said. “The nature of this offense is shocking.”

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the bail conditions set during the case in early November. Brooks was released on a bail of $1,000 on Nov. 11, an amount which Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm called “inappropriately low.” Chisholm’s office stated that “appropriate next steps” will be taken following the review. If convicted, Brooks will spend the rest of his life in prison.


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Isiah Holmes
Isiah Holmes

Isiah Holmes is a journalist and videographer, and a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Holmes' video work dates back to his high school days at Wauwatosa East High, when he made a documentary about the local police department. Since then, his writing has been featured in Urban Milwaukee, Isthmus, Milwaukee Stories, Milwaukee Neighborhood News Services, Pontiac Tribune, the Progressive Magazine, Al Jazeera, and other outlets. He was also featured in the 2018 documentary The Chase Key, and was the recipient of the Sierra Club Great Waters Group 2021 Environmental Hero of the Year award. The Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council also awarded Holmes its 2021-2022 Media Openness Award for using the open records laws for investigative journalism. Holmes was also a finalist in the 2021 Milwaukee Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards alongside the rest of the Wisconsin Examiner's staff. The Silver, or second place, award for Best Online Coverage of News was awarded to Holmes and his colleague Henry Redman for an investigative series into how police responded to the civil unrest and protests in Kenosha during 2020. Holmes was also awarded the Press Club's Silver (second-place) award for Public Service Journalism for articles focusing on police surveillance in Wisconsin.