WAUKESHA, Wis., (CBS) — Darrell Brooks, 39, was charged with five counts of murder after he allegedly plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, killing at least five and injuring dozens more.

Darrell Brooks (Waukesha County Sheriff)

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Brooks, who has a lengthy criminal record, was taken into custody near the scene after a Waukesha police officer opened fire to try to stop the vehicle, authorities said. Officially, Brooks was charged with five counts of intentional homicide, which is the legal equivalent of first-degree murder in Wisconsin, and carries a life sentence upon conviction.

In the moments before the incident, police received a call of a domestic disturbance, possibly involving Brooks.  Police Chief Dan Thompson said police didn’t even have time to respond to that call and fully investigate before Brooks allegedly drove onto the parade route. He said this was not an act of terrorism.

At least five people died and 40 were injured when the red Ford Escape drove into the parade route and ran over several marchers, including members of a high school marching band. 

Online court records showed Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. And at least three other convictions for violent behavior.

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WBBM-TV learned that Brooks was charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, bail jumping, recklessly endangering safety, disorderly conduct and battery on Nov. 5. He pleaded not guilty to counts 1, 4 and 5. This appears to be a domestic violence case because one of the court entries says two women filed for a no contact order, which the court put into effect. On Friday he posted $1,000 cash bail.

The Milwaukee County District attorney’s office has opened an investigation into such a low bail “in light of the nature of the recent charges and pending charges against Mr. Brooks,’ according to a memo released Monday and obtained by CBS 58 reporter Kristen Barbaresi.

WBBM found records for another ongoing case from July, 2020. He was charged with two counts of recklessly endangering safety with use of a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm/convicted of felony. He pleaded not guilty in this case.

  • In 2011 Brooks was found guilty on a resisting/obstructing an officer charge.
  • In 2010, he was found guilty on strangulation and suffocation felony charges in Wood County.
  • In 1999, he was found guilty on substantial battery-intend bodily harm, a felony.

Thompson gave no immediate details about the person or any possible motive.

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Photos posted by CBS 58 News show the red Ford Escape parking in a driveway in the 300 block of Maple Avenue.