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Suspect In Waukesha Christmas Parade Tragedy, Darrell Brooks, Charged With Murder; He Has Long Criminal Record

WAUKESHA, Wis., (CBS) -- Darrell Brooks, 39, was charged with five counts of murder after he allegedly plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, killing at least five and injuring dozens more.

He is expected in court at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Darrell Brooks Booking Photo
Darrell Brooks (Credit: Waukesha County Sheriff)

Brooks, who has a lengthy criminal record, was taken into custody near the scene after a Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the vehicle, authorities said. Officially, Brooks was 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.

In the moments before the incident, police received a call of a domestic disturbance, possibly involving Brooks.  Police Chief Dan Thompson said police didn't even have time to respond to that call and fully investigate before Brooks allegedly drove onto the parade route. He said this was not an act of terrorism.

At least five people died and 40 were injured when the red Ford Escape drove into the parade route and ran over several marchers, including members of a high school marching band. 

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 SUV.

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 hit a woman, who was the mother of his child, with his fist 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 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.
Darrell Brooks, fter is sex conviction in 2006 and recent arrest in 2021
Darrell Brooks after is sex conviction in 2006 and recent arrest in 2021 (right).

Thompson gave no immediate details about any possible motive.

Photos posted by CBS 58 show the red Ford Escape parking in a driveway in the 300 block of Maple Avenue.

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