The incident occurred on a Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee. The red all-terrain vehicle broke through the barriers and rammed groups of people participating in the traditional Christmas parade, though others it seemed to be avoiding.
City fire chief Steve Howard said during a press conference that the fire brigade and rescuers took 11 adults and 12 children to the hospital, among them fatalities. The city authorities do not yet disclose their number. There are more injured, because the wounded were also transported by the police and private persons.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson reported that a “suspect person” has been detained, as has her vehicle. He added that the perpetrator’s motive was so far unknown and it was not yet known whether the attack was an act of terrorism.
Video recordings from surveillance cameras and made by witnesses show a red SUV ramming the barriers off the parade route and driving into people at high speed. The recordings also hear shots, which – as it turned out – was fired by one of the local policemen, unsuccessfully trying to stop the attacker.
According to one of the witnesses quoted by the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel”, the car hit, among others, by into a group of girls from the school dance team.
– There were pompoms and shoes in the street. I had to go from one crushed body to the next to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters have nearly been run over, said Corey Montiho, member of the local school board.
“Today our community is facing horror and tragedy on what was supposed to be its celebration,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said at a press conference.
Wisconsin Senators, Republican Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, expressed their condolences.
According to CNN, the situation is also monitored by the White House, which is in contact with local authorities.