Washington, Nov 22 (EFE).- At least 18 minors were injured in the Christmas parade incident on the weekend when a driver plowed into the crowd, the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin confirmed Monday.
In a statement on its Facebook page, the medical center, which only attends to pediatric patients, said that it had treated 18 minors for injuries sustained when the vehicle rammed dozens at the parade. At present, it is not yet known whether children or teenagers were admitted to other hospitals in the area.
At a press conference, hospital physicians said that the ages of the minors treated at their facility ranged from 3 to 16, adding that their injuries included facial abrasions, broken bones and serious head wounds.
Six of the minors were operated on Sunday night, while two others were scheduled for surgery on Monday and two have been released.
Ten of the patients are in the intensive care unit, with six of them in very serious condition, three in serious and one in stable condition.
At least five people died and another 40 were injured in the incident, which occurred when dance groups, school bands and politicians were parading down Main Street in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee, after the Christmas parade was suspended last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The dead were identified as four women and a man ranging from 52 to 81 years old.
About 4:39 pm on Sunday, a red SUV rammed through several barriers set up for the parade and plowed into the crowd, running over dozens of people.
At present, the driver’s motive for the incident is unknown.
Shortly after the incident, police announced that a person of interest was being questioned in the incident without providing further details.
Eyewitnesses quoted by The New York Times said that the driver of the vehicle was a man and Waukesha Department of Corrections chief Daniel Thompson said that police officers had opened fire on the driver.
Sources with the security forces, quoted by CNN, said that there were indications that the suspect was fleeing another incident – possibly a domestic altercation – when he came upon the crowd gathered for the parade.
The Washington Post, after speaking with a security official, said that authorities had identified the suspect and said he was fleeing from a knife fight.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that President Joe Biden was informed of the “tragic situation” on Sunday night and was receiving ongoing updates, adding that federal teams were in contact with local authorities to offer any help or support that might be needed.
Meanwhile, on Monday Biden thanked first responders, security forces and physicians for their work following the incident, making his remarks on the matter during a previously scheduled speech to announce his nomination of Jerome Powell to continue to head the Federal Reserve.
Calling it an “horrific act of violence,” Biden said that his wife “Jill and I – and the entire Biden family and I’m sure all of us – pray that … (the) spirit (of hope, togetherness and thanksgiving) is going to embrace and lift up all the victims of this tragedy, bringing comfort to those recovering from the injuries and wrapping the families of those that die in the support of their community.”
Thompson confirmed at a press conference that the incident was not a terrorist attack, adding that 39-year-old Darren Brooks, the suspect in the incident, who was arrested, is also implicated in a domestic disturbance.
Brooks, originally of Milwaukee, apparently acted alone, said police.
One police officer, attempting to neutralize the driver of the SUV as it sped into the crowd, opened fire on the vehicle, but due to the large number of people around he had to stop firing to avoid hitting members of the public with his shots.
Brooks was arrested near the scene of the incident and he was to be charged with five counts of first-degree murder.