Prosecutors add dozens of charges in Wisconsin parade deaths

Prosecutors added dozens of charges Wednesday against a man accused of driving his SUV through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee last year, killing six people and injuring dozens.

Investigators believe Darrell Brooks Jr. drove his Ford Escape into the parade in downtown Waukesha on Nov. 21.

Prosecutors charged him two days later with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide. They added 71 additional counts Wednesday, including multiple counts of reckless endangerment, hit-and-run involving death, bail jumping and battery. They also attached a use-of-a-dangerous weapon modifier to the homicide and endangerment counts, which would increase each sentence by five years if he’s convicted.

Court records show Brooks was charged with endangerment in Milwaukee County in July 2020 but posted $500 bail in March. He was arrested in Milwaukee County again on Nov. 5 for allegedly running over the mother of his child with his SUV. He walked out of jail two days before the parade after posting $1,000 bail.

Prosecutors alleged in an amended complaint filed Wednesday that he punched the woman the day before the parade and moments before he drove into it.

Brooks’ attorney, Jeremy Perri, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has taken intense criticism for allowing his office to recommend Brooks’ bail be set at $1,000 in the November case. Chisholm has said a young, overworked assistant prosecutor recommended that level of bail so she could move on to other cases. She never saw an evaluation of the dangers Brooks could pose to the community because the assessment was never entered into the district attorney’s office’s computer system, Chisholm told county officials in December.