Police say 39-year-old man will be charged with multiple counts of homicide for driving into a crowded Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing five and wounding dozens of others.

A person walks past a police car blocking Main Street the morning after a car ploughed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, US on November 22, 2021.
A person walks past a police car blocking Main Street the morning after a car ploughed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, US on November 22, 2021. (AFP)

Authorities will charge a 39-year-old man with multiple counts of homicide for driving into a crowded Christmas parade in Wisconsin, killing five, as he fled the scene of an earlier domestic disturbance, police have said.

"He drove right through the barricades and the officers," Waukesha police chief Daniel Thompson told a briefing on Monday, adding the incident was not related to terrorism. 

'We are confident he acted alone. There is no evidence that this was a terrorist incident," Thompson said of  Darrell E. Brooks, a resident of Milwaukee.

"There was no pursuit that led to this incident," he added.

Police in Waukesha, a small city roughly 32 km west of Milwaukee, said they were not chasing Brooks and do not know what caused him to drive into the crowd, wounding 48, including two children in critical condition.

Police identified the five victims as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

READ MORE: Early probe into Wisconsin parade incident reveals no terrorism link

Waukesha's streets remain deserted

On the morning after Sunday's carnage, a pink hat, a lone shoe and candy lay strewn across the main thoroughfare in Waukesha.

Dozens of orange evidence circles were painted on the street and most shops were closed in the city's downtown district. 

A woman tied a bouquet of flowers to a street post as police officers blocked intersections along the main road.

The FBI is assisting local police in their investigation.

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'Horrific act of violence'

In Washington, President Joe Biden offered words of support to a community stunned by a "horrific act of violence," and paid his respects to families "facing the fresh grief of a life without a loved one."

Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly called it a "senseless tragedy" that affected the entire city west of Milwaukee, as it held its nearly six-decade-old parade to kick off the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas holiday season.

"Last night, lives were lost at what should have been a celebration," Reilly said.

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Source: Reuters