WisconsIn Christmas Parade Disaster: At Least Five Dead, Over 40 Injured

ESUS OCHOA/VIA REUTERS Image caption, Emergency responders and passers-by attended to injured people

Not less than five people have been killed and over 40 wounded after a car ploughed into a parade in the US state of Wisconsin, police reported.

Footage revealed a red SUV driving through a Christmas parade in the city of Waukesha, west of Milwaukee, at about 16:40 local time (22:40 GMT).

Dan Thompson, Police chief said it hit dozens of people, as well as children.

One person is in Police custody. One official stated that, this occurrence does not appear “at this time” to be an act of terrorism,

The suspect seemed to have been fleeing another scene when he ran into people at the parade, the law enforcement official – who is intimate with the early discoveries of the inquiry – disclosed to the BBC’s US partner CBS News.

Angelito Tenorio, a Local resident told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper he had just finished marching in the parade when the SUV

“put the pedal to the metal and just [started] zooming full speed along the parade route.”

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

Corey Montiho also said his daughter’s dance team was hit by the SUV.

“There were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,” he told the paper.

REUTERS Image caption, Footage shared on social media showed the SUV driving through the paradeOfficials in Waukesha cautions that the number of death and injuries could change as additional information is gathered. There are indications that some people had transported themselves to local hospitals.

The parade in Waukesha – a community of about 72,000 people – is held yearly on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and comprises fancy dress, dancers and marching bands. This year’s theme was

“comfort and joy”.

Chief Thompson said officers had retrieved a “suspect vehicle” and a person of interest was in custody, but gave no further details. He added that the investigation was

“very fluid”.

Police shot at the car to try to stop it, he said.

Steven Howard the Fire chief told reporters that his department had taken 11 adults and 12 children to nearby hospitals after the incident.

The Children’s Wisconsin hospital said it had received 15 patients as of 20:00.

Waukesha’s public schools will be be closed on Monday, and counselling services have been made ready and available to those affected.

Mayor Shawn Reilly for now said it was a “traumatic” time for the city.

“My heart goes out to all those affected by this senseless act,” he said.

CITY OF WAUKESHA/FACEBOOK VIA REUTERS Image caption, Video posted online showed the vehicle as it was about to hit the parade in Waukesha

One video published on social media reveals the car breaking violently and noisily at high speed through street barriers. Another shows the vehicle driving into what looks like a group of musicians.

Police officers ran down the street at the time of the incident, telling people to take shelter in shops, local media reports say.

Belen Santamaria rushed into a restaurant with her three-year-old daughter, while her husband went to help those injured. She had pulled out of walking in the parade on Sunday because of backache.

“I was going to be there, walking. The SUV would have hit us too,” she said.

One witness told Milwaukee’s Fox6 TV station that there was calm, followed by screaming , running and checking on those wounded after the vehicle hit a dance team of girls aged between about nine and 15.

Another witness said the driver also hit a group of “Dancing Grannies” and at least one person overturned the front of the car.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies said some of its members

“were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions”.

“Please keep the Grannies, all those injured, and all those who witnessed this horrible event in your thoughts and prayers,”

the group wrote on its Facebook page.

Photos of a red SUV with a crumpled bonnet parked in a driveway were later posted on Twitter by TV station CBS 58.

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