At least 5 killed after SUV plows into Wisconsin holiday parade

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 9:15 a.m. ET, November 23, 2021
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8:01 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

A witness describes the "horrifying" scene when an SUV barreled into a Wisconsin Christmas parade

Angelito Tenorio, who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, was campaigning at the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and had just finished marching the route, when an SUV plowed through the crowd, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40.

"It was absolutely chaotic. It was horrifying," he told CNN. "Nobody knew if this was an attack or if this was an accident or if it was deliberate attack on the people of the parade. People just started fleeing, running away from the scene, leaving behind their belongings, grabbing their children, calling, screaming, looking for their loved ones. And when the crowd cleared out, that's when it looked like I saw people, who appeared to be lying in the middle of the street, lying still, lying lifeless."

He added:

"The last thing I heard was the band music, and then I heard the vehicle, almost the engine revving, speeding up. It sounded like the driver was putting pedal to the metal, speeding along the route. I just heard a loud bang and screams and cries."

Right before the incident, Tenorio said he remembered thinking how "impressive the turnout was in terms of participants and attendants."

"Especially after last year's parade being canceled due to Covid, people wanted to gather together and begin the celebration going into the holidays," he said Monday.

There was security present at the parade and different streets were blocked with barricades. Tenorio said, adding that it may have played a role in quick response to the incident.

Watch the interview:

7:54 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

Waukesha Christmas parade witnesses describe a joyous event that ended in tragedy

From CNN's Joe Sutton, Keith Allen and Travis Caldwell

Five people were killed and more than 40 were injured when a vehicle drove into a Christmas parade Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, Wisconsin, city officials said.

Witnesses described the horror of seeing people struck and lying on the ground after a red SUV drove through a series of barricades and barreled into the crowded parade route on Main Street around 4:39 p.m. local time.

video obtained by CNN shows the moment the vehicle struck pedestrians. A red SUV was seen hitting a person in a marching band, then the vehicle continues forward, hitting and running over others in the band and crowd before driving away.

Angela O'Boyle, who lives in a fifth-floor apartment that overlooks the parade route, told CNN she was on the balcony watching when "the next thing I heard were screams, and turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the band that was just pass my balcony at that point."

"It hit at least two people right away and rolled over them. And then continued down the road to People's Park which is at the end of the block – and then kept going, it didn't stop," she continued.

Boyle said she heard screaming and people yelling out their children's names, adding "it was not something that I wanted to see."

Kaylee Staral, a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel intern who witnessed the incident, told CNN's Pamela Brown "probably around 20 to 30 minutes into the parade, a red SUV came running down the middle of the street – there were a lot of screams – and we almost thought maybe it was Santa, but it was a red SUV and it hit a lot of people."

Staral went on to say "there were multiple people on the ground."

In her description into those injured, Staral said "right in front of me in the little spot where I was sitting, probably four people were down, so there were a lot of people that ran to go check on them. I believe that the four people in front of me were still breathing but they were down, they were not moving."

Police Chief Daniel Thompson said officers are working with the Waukesha County Medical Examiner's Office to identify victims.

Thompson says there is "a person of interest in custody," but would not say whether it was the driver of the SUV nor if any arrests have been made.

"This is still a very fluid investigation," the chief told reporters Sunday night.

7:41 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

Here are the latest official updates on the deadly Christmas parade incident

Toppled chairs line W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers on Sunday.
Toppled chairs line W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV drove into a parade of Christmas marchers on Sunday. (John Hart/Wisconsin State Journal/AP)

At least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured after an SUV plowed into crowds at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday night, officials said.

A "person of interest" is in custody and officials had recovered the suspected vehicle.

Main Street, the location of the incident, is closed from Barstow to Wisconsin, and the street will not be open before mid-day Monday, according to the city's official Twitter account.

"Businesses in this area should remain closed as entry and exit from Main Street will not be allowed," it added.

City Hall will also be closed to the public.

The city account also requested that any items for a temporary memorial be placed at Veterans Park.

7:40 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

Schools are closed in Waukesha this morning

Following Sunday night's deadly parade incident, the School District of Waukesha canceled classes on Monday, according to the school district, and will determine if classes will resume Tuesday.

"The District will have additional counselors available during the school day at all buildings for all students that may be in need of support services," school officials said in a statement.

Roads in the area will remain closed for at least 24 hours, Police Chief Daniel Thompson said. Businesses along roadway where the incident took place should remain closed Monday, city officials said.

On Sunday evening, at least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured when an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade in Waukesha.

7:22 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

President Biden will get "regular updates" on Waukesha parade incident, press secretary says

From CNN’s Betsy Klein

President Biden “will receive regular updates” on the situation in Waukesha, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this morning.

"Our hearts are with the families and the entire community,” Psaki added in a tweet.

At least five people were killed and more than 40 were injured when a vehicle drove into a Christmas parade Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, Wisconsin, city officials said.

Children are among the injured, according to officials.

7:17 a.m. ET, November 22, 2021

At least 5 killed in Waukesha Christmas parade crash, officials say

From CNN's Joe Sutton, Keith Allen and Travis Caldwell

Five people were killed and more than 40 were injured when a vehicle drove into a Christmas parade Sunday afternoon in Waukesha, Wisconsin, city officials said.

"These numbers may change as we collect additional information. Many people have self-transported to area hospitals," the city of Waukesha said in a Twitter post early Monday.

Witnesses described the horror of seeing individuals struck and lying on the ground after a red SUV drove through a series of barricades and barreled into the crowded parade route on Main Street around 4:39 p.m. local time.

Police Chief Daniel P. Thompson said officers are working with the Waukesha County Medical Examiner's Office to identify victims.