Darrell Brooks, the suspect accused in Sunday’s Wisconsin Christmas parade massacre, was charged earlier this month with running over a woman with his car, although he later posted $1,000 bond, according to court records.
Brooks may be charged with five counts of intentional homicide, Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said in a Monday news conference. According to witnesses and footage, a red SUV careened down a parade route, striking dozens of people, including children and elderly participants on Sunday evening.
“We actually had a squad and barricades up, and [Brooks] drove right through,” Thompson said of the incident. “When an officer tried to engage and stop the threat, he still continued through the crowd for some distance.”
Earlier this month, the 39-year-old was released on a $1,000 bond after running over a woman while she was walking through a gas station parking lot in Milwaukee County, according to a criminal complaint. The woman told officials that she is the mother of his child, the complaint said.
“Officers observed tire tracks on her left pants leg,” the court papers read. Brooks was charged with obstructing an officer; second-degree recklessly endangering safety with domestic abuse assessments; disorderly conduct with domestic abuse assessments; and misdemeanor battery with domestic abuse assessments, according to the complaint.
Other court records show Brooks has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 1999, including several felony gun charges and reckless endangerment charges in July 2020. He’s also a registered sex offender in the state of Nevada following a 2006 felony conviction, other records show.
After it was revealed that he posted $1,000 bond, the Milwaukee County district attorney on Monday said that it was set “inappropriately low” and launched an investigation into the decision.
“The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail,” the office said in its statement.
The incident is sure to trigger a debate about bail reform laws that have been passed in a number of states and cities in recent years, including New York and California. Police groups have flagged such laws as being too lenient and have allowed violent repeat offenders back on the streets too soon.
During Monday’s news conference, Thompson said that officials are confident that Brooks acted alone, and the incident wasn’t an act of domestic terrorism. However, they didn’t elaborate on a possible motive or why they believe the massacre wasn’t terror-related.
It’s not clear if Brooks has an attorney representing him for the parade massacre incident.