SUV ploughs through Wisconsin Christmas parade, killing at least 5 people

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Police canvass the streets in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin
Police canvass the streets in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin   -   Copyright  Jeffrey Phelps/AP

Multiple people have been killed in the US city of Milwaukee, after an SUV drove through barricades, hitting people at a Christmas parade.

Officials in the city of Waukesha said at least five people were killed, and more than 40 injured.

A person was in custody and police also had the SUV, but Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson did not give any indication of a motive for the incident.

The horrifying scene was captured by a live-stream hosted by the city, and the mobile phone cameras of onlookers.

One video shows a woman screaming repeatedly after a group of girls wearing Santa hats and dancing with white pom poms is struck.

Another shows the SUV ploughing into members of a marching band.

Fire Chief Steven Howard said 11 adults and 12 children were injured and transported to hospitals by his department.

The Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin said it received 15 patients from the parade and no reported fatalities as of 8 pm last night.

A Catholic priest, multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic schoolchildren were among those injured, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee spokeswoman Sandra Peterson said.

“What took place in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice,” tweeted the state's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Josh Kaul.

As the SUV broke through barricades at the annual parade, a Waukesha police officer fired his gun in an attempt to stop the vehicle, Thompson said.

One video shows the moment the SUV broke through the barricades and the sound of what appears to be several gunshots.

Another video shows a young child dancing in the street as the SUV speeds by, just a few feet from her, before it hurtles into parade participants a few hundred feet ahead.

One entry in the parade, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, posted on its Facebook page that “members of the group and volunteers were impacted and we are waiting for word on their conditions.”

The group’s profile describes them as a “group of grannies that meet once a week to practice routines for summer and winter parades.”

Waukesha is a western suburb of Milwaukee, and about 90 kilometres north of Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of charges stemming from the shooting of three men during unrest in that city in August 2020.