A red SUV is seen speeding through the holiday parade crowd in the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin via a video screen shot taken from the city's Facebook live streaming on November 21, 2021

22 Nov 2021

A vehicle plowed through barricades and into a Christmas parade, killing five people and wounding at least 40 others in the US state of Wisconsin on Sunday, police said.

The red SUV broke through barricades at the annual holiday event, with videos showing the car zoom past spectators right into the heart of the parade — and witnesses saying it sped into a school marching band.

“We can confirm that 5 people are deceased and 40 are injured. However, these numbers may change as we collect additional information,” the Waukesha Police Department said in a statement on their official Facebook page, adding they have a “person of interest in custody”.

Sandra Peterson, a spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Catholic church, said in a statement that “among the injured are one of our Catholic priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children.”

One witness, Angela O’Boyle, whose apartment overlooked the parade in the Milwaukee suburb, told CNN: “All I heard was screaming and then people yelling out their children’s names”.

Waukesha police chief Dan Thompson had earlier told reporters that officers had recovered the vehicle involved in the attack.

There were no other threats, officials at the press conference said.

A total of 11 adults and 12 children were taken to six area hospitals, Fire Chief Steven Howard told reporters.

During the incident an officer fired at the SUV in an attempt to stop it, authorities added.

Schools will not open Monday and roads will remain closed, Thompson said, while the investigation is continuing.

‘Deafening cries’

President Joe Biden has received a briefing on the situation and the White House was closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha, an administration official said.

“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible incident,” they said. “We have reached out to state and local officials to offer any support and assistance as needed.”

While local law enforcement were the primary responders, the FBI said it was also providing assistance.

Angelito Tenorio, running for Wisconsin state treasurer, was at the parade and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he “saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route.”

“And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,” he said.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”

Various lawmakers expressed their condolences, including the state’s two senators, with Democrat Tammy Baldwin writing on Twitter that she found the “horrific violence… just heartbreaking.”

Her Republican counterpart Ron Johnson offered his “prayers for everyone injured” and “gratitude for all law enforcement, medical personnel, and community members who are responding.”

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”

The incident comes after a tumultuous week in the state of Wisconsin following the conclusion of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an American teen acquitted after fatally shooting two men during Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality last year in Kenosha, located just 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Waukesha.

The case and verdict has underscored racial tensions across the United States.

Suspect Taken Into Custody