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Jackson Sparks, 8, Becomes Sixth Victim To Die After SUV Plows Through Waukesha Christmas Parade, Bail For Suspect Darrell Brooks Set At $5 Million

By Marie Saavedra and Jermont Terry

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS) -- An 8-year-old boy has become the sixth victim to die after a vehicle plowed through the Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Tuesday, prosecutors said at the bond hearing for suspect Darrell Brooks.

In a GoFundMe, family members identified boy as Jackson Sparks.

Jackson Sparks
Jackson Sparks (Family photo via GoFundMe, CBS 58 Milwaukee)

Jackson and his 12-year-old brother, Tucker, were both seriously hurt during the parade attack. According to the GoFundMe page, both have been in the ICU since.

Loved ones write that Jackson underwent brain surgery, but succumbed to his injuries and passed away. They say his brother Tucker is improving.

Prosecutors on Monday also revealed that a total of 62 people were injured in the incident late Sunday. Some remain in very critical condition.

Brooks is charged with five counts of intentional homicide, which is the legal equivalent of first-degree murder in Wisconsin, and carries a life sentence upon conviction. Prosecutors said a sixth count is expected to be filed with another victim having died.

Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello set bail for Brooks at $5 million, meaning that he would have to pay the full $5 million – not a percentage of it – to be released.

As he sat at the defense table, Brooks hung his head and breathed heavily as the prosecution read his lengthy criminal history. He also rocked back and forth and sobbed, and was heard gasping after he learned a child had died, CBS 2's Marie Saavedra reported.

The state said it considers Brooks a danger to Waukesha County and a flight risk, and requested the $5 million bond that the judge granted.

The defense's only argument is that Brooks is not very financially sound.

Costello said even though $5 million cash was an incredibly high bond, he felt it appropriate.

Brooks, 39, was charged with five counts of murder after he allegedly plowed through the Christmas parade in Waukesha.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors a Waukesha police detective by the name of Casey was working traffic control for the Christmas Parade at White Rock Avenue and East Main Street. The parade was already in progress when around 4:35 p.m. Sunday, Casey heard a call over Waukesha police radio that two people were fighting near White Rock School. Squads were sent to that scene to investigate.

Meanwhile, Casey heard a horn honking north of his location, and then he saw people spreading apart as a red Ford Escape plowed south on White Rock Avenue, the complaint said.

When the Ford Escape reached the intersection of White Rock Avenue and East Main Street, Detective Casey stepped in front of it and pounded on its hood, yelling, "Stop!" multiple times, the complaint said.

The Ford Escape kept going and turned west onto Main Street. At that time, the vehicle was traveling at a slow speed, and Casey kept telling the driver to stop while now pounding on the driver's side window, prosecutors said.

But the Ford Escape – which Brooks was driving – kept going and sped up, the complaint said. The SUV went on to enter the parade route, and Casey issued a radio call for squads to respond in an emergency fashion, prosecutors said.

Brooks kept west on East Main Street, striking numerous pedestrians – including both parade participants and spectators, the complaint said. Casey saw three adult victims in the road with traumatic injuries – all of whom later died.

Two more victims were rushed to ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital and Aurora Medical Center-Summit, where they also each died, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, Waukesha police Officer Butryn was assisting with crowd control at East Main Street and North East Avenue, when he heard a car was headed toward the parade route around 4:38 p.m.

He also tried to stop the vehicle and redirect it from the parade route, but the vehicle turned onto East Main Street and went through the parade, the complaint said.

Butryn reported the vehicle was initially sticking to the north side of the road in an open lane between parade participants and spectators, and said Brooks looked right at him and had no emotion on his face, the complaint said.

Butryn saw the vehicle pass the intersection of East Main and Buckley streets, and figured that if Brooks were lost and trying to get out of the parade route, it would be a reasonable place for him to do so, the complaint said. But that did not happen. Instead, Brooks kept going west on East Main Street and honked its horn, the complaint said.

Around Martin Street, the vehicle sped up from an initial speed of 25 mph, and nearly struck a small child who was in a parking stall on the north side of the road, the complaint said.

The vehicle then reached Northwest Barstow Street, and the brakes were activated, prosecutors said. Butryn thought the vehicle would stop and turn off the parade route onto Barstow Street, but instead, the vehicle took an abrupt left turn into the parade participants and spectators, the complaint said.

"At this point, it was clear to Officer Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible," the complaint said.

Butryn ran after the vehicle. He reported that its driver appeared to be swerving from side to side deliberately – striking multiple people. Meanwhile, several people were pulling at Butryn, saying they needed help with injured people, the complaint said.

Butryn told the distraught people who were tugging at him to stay with the injured victims and wait for ambulances, and then kept chasing after the SUV.

As the vehicle approached Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha police Officer Scholten shot at the vehicle and struck it three times, the complaint said.

As quoted in the complaint, a witness told police: "As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zig zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people. There was no attempt made by the vehicle to stop, much less slow down."

Waukesha police Detective Trussoni talked with another witness who also described the vehicle proceeding in a zigzag pattern, and who felt there was "a direct intent to hit as many parade participants."

Read The Criminal Complaint

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"The nature of the offense is shocking – actually the detail I was not expecting here today that two detectives – not lay people, detectives – not only tried to stop this, but rendered an opinion that this was an intentional act," Costello said as he set bail for Brooks.

The other five victims who died have been identified as:

  • Virginia Sorenson, 79;
  • LeAnna Owen, 71;
  • Tamara Durand, 52;
  • Jane Kulich, 52;
  • and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

Sorensen, Owen, and Durand were all involved with the Dancing Grannies troupe that performed in the parade, while Hospel assisted with the group.

Kulich was a 52-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother. She was walking in the parade when she was struck and killed. On Tuesday, her widower, John, sat down with CBS News' David Begnaud along with their children.

Mr. Kulich said the family had been visiting colleges recently. He down on the reality that he was now all alone – their future cut short.

"You know, were a team. That was my partner. I'm not capable of doing all this myself," he said. "I needed her. I've always needed her. And they needed her too."

John Kulich said his last day with his wife started in church. He said the sermon was about how couples who stay together are better.

Among the victims who were injured was 11-year-old Jessalyn Torres, who was part of the Xtreme Dance Team in the parade. Her uncle, Ryan Kohnke, said she suffered a broken pelvis and internal bleeding, and she lost a kidney.

"She said, 'Tell then to glue me back together,'" Kohnke said.

Jessalyn is now on a ventilator in the ICU.

Meanwhile, online court records showed Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. And at least six other convictions for violent behavior. One of the pending cases involves Brooks allegedly running over a woman with an sport-utility vehicle.

CBS 2 learned that Brooks was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, bail jumping, recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and battery on Nov. 5. According to the criminal complaint, Brooks punched a woman who was the mother of his child, and then ran over the woman in a maroon Ford Escape, similar to the vehicle used in Sunday's rampage. He pleaded not guilty to counts 1, 4 and 5. This appears to be a domestic violence case because one of the court entries says two women filed for a no contact order, which the court put into effect. On Friday. he posted $1,000 cash bail.

The Milwaukee County District attorney's office has opened an investigation into such a low bail "in light of the nature of the recent charges and pending charges against Mr. Brooks,' according to a memo released Monday and obtained by CBS 58 reporter Kristen Barbaresi.

CBS 2 found records for another ongoing case from July 2020. According to that criminal complaint, Brooks got into a physical fight with a relative over a cell phone and fired a gun at the relative and a friend who were leaving in a vehicle. He was charged with two counts of recklessly endangering safety with use of a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm/convicted of felony. He pleaded not guilty in this case. In court, prosecutors identified the relative as Brooks' nephew.

  • In 2011 Brooks was found guilty on a resisting/obstructing an officer charge.
  • In 2010, he was found guilty on strangulation and suffocation felony charges in Wood County.
  • In 1999, he was found guilty on substantial battery-intend bodily harm, a felony.
  • Brooks was also a convicted sex offender, stemming from a case in Nevada about 15 years ago. He got a 15-year-old girl pregnant in Sparks, Nevada when he was 24, authorities said. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation. On June 23, 2016, he was arrested in the same town for failing to register as a sex offender. He bailed out on that charge and never appeared in court. He has had an active warrant from Nevada since then. The police department in Sparks, NV told CBS 2 the warrant was specific to Nevada and not other states. However, it's unclear if authorities from Nevada and Wisconsin had previously communicated about the warrant, and whether authorities in Wisconsin were aware of it. CBS 2 has contacted the Milwaukee County Distract Attorney's Office and the Milwaukee Police Department with questions.
  • In 2003 he pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor resisting arrest.
  • In 2005 he got brief prison time for obstructing a police officer, also a misdemeanor.

Brooks was also arrested in Georgia on May 27 of this year on a misdemeanor battery charge, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors noted that Brooks also has convictions in Wood, Manitowoc, and Langlade counties in northern Wisconsin as well as his home county of Milwaukee.

He is due back in court on Jan. 14.

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