WASHINGTON: A vehicle plowed into a Christmas parade in the US state of Wisconsin on Sunday evening causing “some fatalities” and injuring more than 20 people, police said.
Officials were still gathering information on the incident which occurred just after 4:30 pm (5:30 am Monday in Pakistan), as spectators in the town of Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, watched the annual tradition.
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“The Waukesha Christmas parade was taking place when a red SUV broke through the barricades, westbound, headed down Main Street,” Police Chief Dan Thompson told reporters.
“The vehicle struck more than 20 individuals, some of the individuals were children and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident,” he said.
He did not specify the number of people killed and added that no further information would be released until families have been notified.
He did, however, say that a “person of interest” was in custody and that officers had recovered the involved vehicle. There were no other threats, he said.
An officer had fired at the SUV in an attempt to stop the vehicle, authorities said.
A total of 11 adults and 12 children were taken to six area hospitals, Fire Chief Steven Howard told reporters.
Angelito Tenorio, who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, was at the parade and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he “saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route.”
“And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,” he said.
According to bystanders and footage, the SUV sped into the parade behind a school marching band.
“All I heard was screaming and then people yelling out their children’s names. That’s all I heard” another witness, Angela O’Boyle, whose apartment overlooked the parade, told CNN.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers said he and his wife were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”
“We are in contact with local partners as we await more information,” he added.