'These numbers may change as we collect additional information. Many people have self-transported to area hospitals,' the city of Waukesha tweeted Monday morning.
Trigger warning: This story contains graphic visuals and descriptions of the attack which some readers may find distressing
A holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, took a devastating turn on Sunday evening when a driver in a red SUV plowed through the crowd. The city confirmed on Twitter that five people were killed and more than 40 injured after the SUV collided with parade marchers. Speaking to reporters, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel P. Thompson revealed that children were also among those struck by the car. According to NPR, Fire Chief Steven Howard stated that in total, 11 adults and 12 pediatric patients were transported to six hospitals in the area.
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.— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) November 22, 2021
Witnesses described the horror of seeing individuals struck and lying on the ground after the vehicle rammed through a series of barricades and barreled into the crowded parade route on Main Street around 4:39 p.m. local time, reports CNN. Although the police didn't release any information on the driver, Thompson confirmed that there is "a person of interest in custody." While a Waukesha police officer discharged their weapon in an attempt to stop the driver, he added, no bystanders were struck by the officer's gunfire. The chief also said that he doesn't believe any shots were fired from the vehicle.
"The scene is now safe and secure," Thompson assured, despite admitting that as of now it is unknown whether Sunday's incident was an act of terrorism. Aurora Medical Center-Summit, a hospital in Waukesha County, confirmed that it is treating 13 patients. Of these 13, three are listed in critical condition, four in serious condition and six in fair condition, the hospital revealed. "We are deeply saddened by today's senseless tragedy and our hearts are with the Waukesha community," a statement from the hospital said.
Breaking News: The driver of an SUV plowed into a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, leaving several people injured, according to an eyewitness. https://t.co/ZkxNYlfVCo— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 22, 2021
Meanwhile, Children's Wisconsin, a health care system operating two hospitals in the state, said in a statement that it took in 15 patients from the incident as of 8 p.m., "with no reported fatalities at our hospital at that time." Angela O'Boyle, who lives on the fifth floor in an apartment near the attack said she was watching the parade when she heard screams. "The next thing I heard were screams, and turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just past my balcony at that point. It hit at least two people right away and rolled over them. And then continued down the road to People's Park which is at the end of the block — and then kept going, it didn't stop," she told CNN.
BREAKING: City of Waukesha, Wisconsin, says at least 5 people dead and more than 40 injured after SUV speeds into Christmas parade. https://t.co/3IVPB6Vs38— The Associated Press (@AP) November 22, 2021
Boyle added that she heard screaming and people yelling out their children's names, adding "it was not something that I wanted to see... a little freaked out." Kaylee Staral, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel intern who also witnessed the incident, told reporters that "probably around 20 to 30 minutes into the parade, a red SUV came running down the middle of the street -- there were a lot of screams -- and we almost thought maybe it was Santa, but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people." Describing those injured in the incident, Staral said "right in front of me in the little spot where I was sitting, probably four people were down, so there were a lot of people that ran to go check on them. I believe that the four people in front of me were still breathing but they were down, they were not moving."
JUST IN: 5 people have died and more than 40 are injured after an SUV ploughed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, according to city officials https://t.co/FvtI6bHGjG— CNN (@CNN) November 22, 2021
A White House official revealed that the White House is in touch with state and local officials and that President Joe Biden has been briefed. "The White House is closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and 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."
This is a developing news story with inputs from officials, local authorities, and credible news outlets from the ground. We will update the story as we get more information on the matter.