The lone suspect in the SUV attack that killed at least five and injured dozens more at a quaint holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday has been identified as a 39-year-old who recently posted bail on reckless-endangerment charges.
Darrell Brooks is set to be charged with five counts of intentional homicide in connection with the Sunday evening incident involving a red Ford Escape that plowed through barricades and into the crowd, sparking panic and unleashing mass bloodshed.
Waukesha Chief Daniel Thompson said during a press conference Monday that Brooks was the sole suspect in the incident, which occurred just minutes after he was involved “in a domestic disturbance.”
“No evidence this is a terrorist incident,” Thompson said. “We are confident he acted alone.”
Thompson also identified five confirmed fatalities, victims whose ages range from 52 to 81 years old. The victims have been identified as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
The sprawling disaster left members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies among the dead, and at least a dozen children and a priest among some 48 injured.
Public records show Brooks has a significant criminal history in Wisconsin that spans over two decades. This past Friday, he posted a cash bond in connection with charges including resisting or obstructing an officer, bail jumping, recklessly endangering safety with domestic-abuse assessments, disorderly conduct with a domestic-abuse assessment, and battery.
Joseph Thomas Domask, a lawyer who is representing Brooks in that case, declined to comment about the Sunday incident to The Daily Beast. Domask added that he was not representing Brooks in any case tied to the parade, and has not been in contact with the man or his family since.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney said on Monday that Brooks should not have been released on such an “inappropriately low” $1,000 cash bond last week given his past charges. In the most recent case, dating from an incident on Nov. 2, the complainant told cops Brooks had deliberately tried to run an unidentified woman over with his car after an altercation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
According to a criminal complaint of the incident obtained by The Daily Beast, “an officer observed tire tracks on [the woman’s] left pants leg,” and noted that she had dry blood on her face, prompting authorities to take her to a local hospital. Investigators are conducting an internal review of the bail recommendation in that case, the DA added.
A woman who said she dated Brooks when they were teenagers and requested anonymity for fear of retaliation told The Daily Beast on Monday she was horrified to learn his name had been connected to the slaughter. “I was devastated, it makes me sick to my stomach,” she said. “Those poor people, my heart hurts especially for those babies.”
Brooks is also facing felony charges that include recklessly endangering safety and possession of a firearm that were filed in July 2020. A criminal complaint of the incident obtained by The Daily Beast states that Brooks’ grandmother told authorities he had a physical fight with his nephew.
The nephew later told police that he confronted his uncle about “having his old cell phone.” As he was trying to leave with this friend, the nephew said, Brooks “walked into the front yard with a gun and fired one shot at them.”
He also has several prior convictions, including a substantial battery felony charge in 1999. The substantial battery charge was later dismissed.
Brooks has also pleaded guilty or no contest to bail-jumping or obstructing an officer and operating a vehicle while on suspended license over the years. In 2010, he was also found guilty of felony strangulation and suffocation following a no-contest plea. Brooks was sentenced to three years of probation with a court order to receive counseling, “take prescribed medication” and cease contact with the victim.
Among other things, Brooks appears to be an amateur rapper who appeared under the name MathBoi Fly on YouTube. A since-deleted YouTube channel, first reported by Heavy, features several music videos—and a red SUV could be seen in at least one of the clips.
Brooks appears to have used a number of stage names throughout the course of his aspiring rap career, including “Jay Fly,” “Math Boi,” and “B.L.A.$.” A reverbnation page linked to Brooks via email and Twitter accounts describes him as “the next breakout artist from the Midwest” who’s “finally ready to put Milwaukee back on the map.”
A Facebook page matching the name alias MathBio Fly also commented on the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict on Friday. The trial, in which the 18-year-old was acquitted of all charges for killing two people and injuring a third during the unrest in Kenosha, was about an hour away from Brooks’ residence.
“I wasn’t surprised 1 bit,” MathBoi Fly wrote in response to a friend commenting about the Rittenhouse verdict.
There is no indication the Sunday attack was connected to the verdict, nor political in nature.
A Twitter page also matching the same alias describes him as a “Milwaukee,WI born & raised, rapper/songwriter/producer/ stoner/philosopher next big thing out the Midwest if u aint know,get in tune.”
Mike De Sisti-USA TODAY Network via Reuters
Authorities say that around 4:40 p.m. local time Sunday, a red SUV stormed past several barricades and barreled into a crowd attending the Milwaukee suburb’s 58th annual Christmas parade. Videos of the incident posted online showed the car apparently trying to swerve around some marching band members before plowing into the crowd. The car continued directly into the parade, running over people as attendees frantically tried to scatter away.
Police said a Waukesha officer with six years on the force fired at the SUV in an attempt to stop it, though no one appeared to have been hit by the bullets. The Wisconsin Department of Justice and the FBI were assisting in the investigation.
Citizens Bank said in a statement that a female employee was among the five people who died on Sunday, but declined to provide additional information. Dr. Amy Drendel with Children’s Wisconsin said in a Monday press conference that 18 children ages 3 to 16 were admitted with a wide range of injuries in connection with the incident. Among those children, six of whom had immediate surgery on Sunday night, were three sets of siblings.
At least six children were still deemed to be in critical condition, Drendel added.
To his ex-girlfriend from many years ago, Brooks’ alleged crimes were horrifying, but not inconceivable.
“All I can tell you is that he is obviously sick, and what he’s done is irredeemable,” she told The Daily Beast.