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A person of interest 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 was taken into custody as a person of interest and was being questioned 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, NBC News first reported. Brooks has not been charged with a crime nor named an official suspect.
The sprawling disaster left members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies among the dead, and at least a dozen children and a priest among the injured.
NBC News cited five law-enforcement officials who also noted investigators were looking into the possibility the Milwaukee resident had been fleeing an earlier incident involving a knife fight at the time of the Sunday parade. The Associated Press also reported Brooks was a person of interest in the parade attack, citing two officials.
Death on Main Street: 5 Killed in Holiday Parade Horror
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 violence, and has not been in contact with the man or his family since the parade.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney said on Monday that Brooks should not have been released on such an “inappropriately low” $1,000 cash bond last week given his past charges. In the most recent case, dating from an incident on Nov. 5, the complainant told cops Brooks had deliberately tried to run her over with his car. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Investigators are conducting an internal review of the bail recommendation in that case, the DA added.
A woman who said she dated Brooks when they were teenagers and requested anonymity for fear of retaliation told The Daily Beast on Monday she was horrified to learn his name had been connected to the slaughter. “I was devastated, it makes me sick to my stomach,” she said. “Those poor people, my heart hurts especially for those babies.”
Brooks is also facing felony charges that include recklessly endangering safety and possession of a firearm that were filed in July 2020. He also has several prior convictions, including a substantial battery felony charge in 1999. The substantial battery charge was later dismissed.
Brooks has also pleaded guilty or no contest to bail-jumping or obstructing an officer and operating a vehicle while on suspended license over the years. In 2010, he was also found guilty of felony strangulation and suffocation following a no-contest plea. Brooks was sentenced to three years of probation with a court order to receive counseling, “take prescribed medication” and cease contact with the victim.
Among other things, Brooks appears to be an amateur rapper who appeared under the name MathBoi Fly on YouTube. A since-deleted YouTube channel, first reported by Heavy, features several music videos—and a red SUV could be seen in at least one of the clips.
Brooks appears to have used a number of stage names throughout the course of his aspiring rap career, including “Jay Fly,” “Math Boi,” and “B.L.A.$.” 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.”
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 injures 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.
“Today our community faced horror and tragedy in what should have been a community celebration,” Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said on Sunday. “I’m deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.”
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