Darrell Brooks made his first appearance in court today. The lead prosecutors spent roughly ten minutes outlining his long history of past convictions in Wisconsin and two other states. She then informed the court that a sixth victim, a child, had died today and a 6th count of intentional homicide would be added to the charges against Brooks soon. In light of all of this, the prosecutor requested bail be set at $5 million. ABC News reports that Brooks began sobbing in court at the news of another victim. You can hear Brooks sobbing as his own defense attorney argued the bail amount was unnecessary:
After briefly hearing from the defense the judge walked through the regulations on setting bail and eventually agreed to the prosecutor’s recommendation. “The nature of this offense is shocking,” he said. He continued, “Actually the detail I was not expecting here today, two detectives, not lay people detectives, not only tried to stop this but rendered an opinion that this was an intentional act…I’ve not seen anything like this in my very long career.”
The judge concluded, “I know that that’s extremely high bail. It’s warranted here.”
#Waukesha Judge sets bail at $5 million for Darrell Brooks: “this offense is shocking…two detectives…not only tried to stop this but rendered an opinion this was an intentional act. You are presumed innocent sir but that’s what the allegations are.”
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) November 23, 2021
The details about the case that the judge referred to are contained in this complaint which claims that Brooks had opportunities to turn and get out of the parade route. Instead, he seemed to speed up and zig-zag down the street as if intentionally trying to hit as many people as possible. [emphasis added]
At approximately 4:38 p.m., Officer Butryn heard on his radio that a car was traveling west bound, approaching the parade route. Officer Butryn observed a red Ford Escape traveling westbound on White Rock Avenue, approaching East Main Street. He began walking onto East Main Street, into the parade, in an attempt to get the driver’s attention, stop the vehicle and redirect the vehicle from the parade route. The vehicle turned right onto East Main Street, toward Officer Butryn. As the vehicle was traveling westbound on East Main Street, Officer Butryn was standing directly in-line with the vehicle, wearing a full City of Waukesha Police Department uniform. He put his hand up and yelled, “Stop, stop the vehicle” multiple times.
Based upon his training and experience, Officer Butryn estimated the vehicle’s speed to be approximately 25 miles per hour. The vehicle was initially sticking to the north side of the road, in the open lane between the parade participants and spectators. Officer Butryn observed the driver looking straight ahead, directly at him, and it appeared he had no emotion on his face. As the vehicle passed his location, Officer Butryn continually yelled for the vehicle to stop. The vehicle continued traveling westbound on East Main Street, and passed through the intersection of East Main Street and Buckley Street. Office Butryn concluded that if the driver was lost and attempting to get out of the parade, this would have been a reasonable location for him to stop and exit the parade route. The vehicle continued westbound on East Main Street and was honking its horn. As the vehicle got to approximately Martin Street, it appeared to Officer Butryn that the vehicle began to increase its speed. As the vehicle was traveling westbound, the vehicle began getting closer to parade spectators, and almost struck a small juvenile who was standing in one of the parking stalls on the north side of the road as its speed was increasing.
The vehicle then got to the intersection of East Main Street and NW Barstow Street, and it appeared the brakes were activated. Office Butryn believed the vehicle was going to come to a stop and attempt to make a right hand turn out of the parade route, onto NW Barstow Street. However, the vehicle then appeared to rapidly accelerate, as Officer Butryn heard tires squeal. The vehicle took an abrupt left turn into the crowd of parade participants. At this point, it was clear to Officer Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible. Officer Butryn continued to run westbound on East Main Street, trailing the vehicle and its path. He observed the vehicle appeared to be intentionally moving side to side, striking multiple people, and bodies and objects were flying from the area of the vehicle. As Officer Butryn got to the area of the Subway restaurant on East Main Street, Officer Butryn began to encounter multiple casualties. Multiple people were pulling at him, saying that they needed assistance with injured parties. Based on the on-going threat of the vehicle and the occupant, Officer Butryn asked those assisting with the casualties as he passed, if they were breathing, and advised them to stay with them and that ambulances were on the way. Officer Butryn continued to chase after the vehicle on foot in order to stop the threat the driver posed…
Detective Trussoni spoke with multiple citizen witnesses who were present during the parade. One witness indicated, “As I continued to watch the SUV, it continued to drive in a zig zag motion. It was like the SUV was trying to avoid vehicles, not people.”
There were no police cars chasing Brooks, only officers on foot. And even then, these were officers that he drove toward and passed. No one was forcing him to drive down the parade route. There were also multiple places he could have turned off and gotten away from the crowd of people. Instead, it appears he sped up and began zig-zagging through the parade. Based on this complaint it’s difficult to see this as anything but an intentional attempt to kill and injure a lot of people. Hopefully we’ll eventually learn why.