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Several Dead as SUV Plows into Christmas Parade

A marching band was playing “Jingle Bells” and the crowd was jovial as the parade wound through downtown Waukesha, Wis., when a red SUV barreled through, according to a social media video from the city’s feed.

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Debris litters the street at a crime scene on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021, in Waukesha, Wis. According to reports, an SUV drove through pedestrians at a holiday parade, killing at least one and injuring 20 more.
(Jim Vondruska/Getty Images/TNS)
(TNS) - At least 20 people were injured and several have reportedly died when an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday evening.

A marching band was playing “Jingle Bells” and the crowd was jovial as the parade wound through downtown Waukesha, about 20 miles west of Milwaukee, when a red SUV barreled through, according to social media video from the city’s feed.

WDJT-TV reported that one person had died. Police were due to give a media briefing later in the evening.

Waukesha Chief of Police Daniel Thompson confirmed that more than 20 people had been injured after the car sped through the parade.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” he said in a three-minute briefing pending a longer news conference later in the evening. “Victims were transported from the scene via ambulance. Officers transported some of the injured personnel and took them to the hospital, and some victims were transported by family members or friends to the hospital.”

Police had located the vehicle and taken in a “person of interest,” and declared the area safe, he said.

“Please avoid the downtown area for the time being,” the police department requested at about 5:30 p.m. local time as investigators descended on the chaotic scene.

One video posted on Twitter showed a speeding red SUV careening alongside marchers and barely missing a little girl whose back was to the street as she danced to the drums and music.

There were also possible shots fired, reported WGN-TV, and the parade route was evacuated as people fled.

“It just all happened so fast,” local alderman and state treasurer candidate Angelito Tenorio told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He had just finished marching in the parade, which traverses the city’s downtown every year, with family and friends, and was walking back toward Main Street.

“As we were walking back in between the buildings that we saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” he said. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.”

There was a heavy police presence after the vehicle busted through barriers and speeding into the roadway where the parade was processing, the Journal Sentinel said. The Journal Sentinel said thuds could be heard as the speeding vehicle barreled down the street and bodies flew.

The parade is a “cherished” annual event that kicks off a season of holiday merriment, the Journal Sentinel noted. This year Waukesha is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

“Tonight was a traumatic situation for the city of Waukesha,” Mayor Shawn Reilly said at the short briefing.

Gov. Tony Evers expressed condolences.

“Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act,” he said in a statement. “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.”

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