WAUKESHA, Wisc. — According to police, a person of interest is in custody after an SUV sped through a Wisconsin-area parade, striking more than 20 people. Waukesha officials said some were killed but did not specify how many were died, pending next of kin notification.
The red-colored vehicle appeared to crash into multiple members of a school marching band.
Some of the individuals struck were children, said Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson.
Waukesha Fire Chief Steve Howard said local emergency crews transported 23 people — 11 adults and 12 pediatric patients — to six area hospitals.
“Today, we experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy,” said Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly during a Sunday night press conference. “I’m deeply saddened to know that so many in our community went to a parade but ended up dealing with injury and heartache.”
According to Thompson, just before 4:40 p.m, a red SUV plowed through barriers and sped onto a roadway where the parade was taking place.
A live video feed of the parade from the city of Waukesha, as well as videos taken by parade attendees, showed the red SUV breaking through barriers.
Police said officers later recovered the suspect vehicle.
During Sunday night’s press conference, police addressed reports of gunfire amid the chaotic scene.
“An officer did discharge his weapon at the suspect vehicle to try and stop the vehicle,” Thompson said.
No bystanders were struck.
According to Thompson, the officer who discharged his weapon is a six-year veteran of the Waukesha Police Department.
An investigation is ongoing. No threat to the community remains, police added.
“A very tragic incident and my prayers and thoughts go out to the families,” Thompson said.
WGN News spoke with a witness who says she watched the parade from her balcony as the SUV rushed down the roadway.
“I saw [the SUV] strike the band that has just passed my apartment complex and plow into at least three people, running over two of them,” said Angela O’Boyle. “One of the two got up. The other one did not for quite some time. [The SUV] kept going all the way down the block to people parked at stoplights and continued straight through it, and that’s all that I saw. It continued to strike pedestrians and people along the way.”
As a result of the incident, Waukesha School District officials have canceled school for Monday, Nov. 21.
The Waukesha Police Department asks anyone looking for family members who may live out of town to call (262) 548-7122. In addition, police asked locals to avoid the downtown area.
Officials plan to hold a press conference Monday, Nov. 22, at 1 p.m.
WATCH: Waukesha officials speak after SUV plows through a Christmas parade