The driver of the SUV that plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wis., on Sunday was fleeing the scene of a reported domestic disturbance, police said Monday afternoon.
Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson at a press conference also said the driver, identified as Darrell Brooks, will be charged with five counts of intentional first-degree homicide.
The crash killed five people and injured at least 40. The investigation is still in the early stages.
Thompson said Brooks had been at the scene of a reported domestic disturbance but fled before police arrived.
"We actually had a squad and barricades up and he drove right through the barricades and the officers," Thompson said.
"When an officer tried to engage with him to stop the threat, he still continued through the crowd," he added.
The red SUV police say Brooks was driving broke through the barricades set up for a Christmas parade and struck dozens of people, including children, at around 4:40 p.m. local time, Thompson said in a press conference late on Sunday.
The parade, held every year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, had the theme of “comfort and joy.”
Thompson added a Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the driver. That officer did not hit any bystanders and Thompson said he doesn't believe any shots were fired from the vehicle.
Brooks was released from jail Friday on charges stemming from a previous incident. In that case, filed Nov. 5, Brooks was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless homicide, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery, according to The Washington Post.
In July 2020 he was charged with reckless endangering and illegal possession of a firearm, CBS reported.
The city of Waukesha tweeted on Monday that the number of injured and dead may change as they collect additional information, and many people drove themselves.
Updated at 2:48 p.m.