Waukesha Christmas Parade: Who is Darrell Brooks, charged with murder in crash

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Ross Weidner WLS logo
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Who is Darrell Brooks, charged with murder in Waukesha parade crash
Darrell Brooks, Jr. is charged with murder for driving into the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing five people and injuring 48 more.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Darrell Brooks, Jr. of Milwaukee is charged with murder for driving into the Waukesha Christmas parade, killing five people and injuring 48 more. He was easily and quickly traced by police through his red SUV's license plate, but some investigators also knew of his criminal past, including an incident this month where he allegedly ran over a woman at a gas station with his vehicle.

READ MORE | Man charged in WI parade crash that left 5 dead, 48 hurt

Police said when Darrell Edward Brooks, Jr. raced down the parade route, he was out on $1,000 cash bail in a domestic violence case, released from jail less than a week ago. Prosecutors now say they're reviewing his bail amount, because it was "inappropriately low."

Waukesha police also revealed Monday afternoon there had been a domestic violence police call involving Brooks just before the parade incident.

"We have no information that Brooks knew anybody in the parade," said Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson. "But I will say this: We weren't even able to respond to that domestic call before it, actually, so we couldn't even investigate it. So there was an initial complaint of a knife being involved, yes. Do we know if there actually was one there? We don't know, because we didn't even make it there. We ended up immediately responding to the crisis."

RELATED: Waukesha parade victims ID'd, include members of Dancing Grannies

Brooks' criminal history began in 1999 when, at 17 years old, he pleaded guilty to inflicting bodily harm. According to court documents examined by the ABC7 I-Team, that was the first of nearly a dozen criminal charges against him in the last 20 years.

He has pleaded guilty, been convicted and served time for drug violations, in gun cases, for domestic violence and endangering safety, including obstructing police. He is now facing five intentional homicide charges, with additional counts to be added, police said, if more victims die.

Brooks was free on bond after being charged with a violent incident on Nov. 2, in which police say he ran over the mother of his child with his car. At the time of that incident, he was free on bond for another violent felony case from 2020.

Many of the criminal cases Brooks has faced over the past two decades involve vehicles; according to the Milwaukee Journal, one occurred during a seat belt traffic stop about 10 years ago. A city police officer reported he thought Brooks was going to run him over, and so the officer jumped into Brooks' car and fought for control of the steering wheel.