The Milwaukee County District Attorney said Monday that the suspect at the center of Sunday’s Waukesha parade tragedy was released from jail on an “inappropriately low” bail.
On Sunday afternoon, the driver of a red Ford Escape plowed through a parade of adults and children, killing at least five and wounding dozens more. The SUV broke through a barricade and ran through the parade from behind a school marching band.
NBC News confirmed the identity of a suspect arrested by police and charged with five counts of murder on Monday. That person, a 39-year-old black male, has a criminal history and days prior to the Waukesha parade was released from jail after posting a $1,000 bail on two felony and three misdemeanor charges. The Daily Wire has decided not to name the man per its policy against naming the alleged perpetrators of mass casualty incidents.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm’s office released a statement Monday admitting that the suspect’s release from prison had been aided by a bail set too low by the state and court considering the charges he was facing, as well as another set of charges he had posted bail for earlier this year. The statement said in part:
On November 5, 2021, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office issued against [the suspect] charges of Second Degree Recklessly Endangering Safety, Felony Bail Jumping, Battery, Obstructing an Officer and Disorderly Conduct … The most recent case against [the suspect] was appropriately charged. The state made a cash bail request in this case of $1,000, which was set by the court. The defendant posted $1,000 cash bail on November 11, resulting in his release from custody.
The State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against [the suspect]. The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail.
The district attorney’s office added that it was conducting an internal review to determine how the “inappropriately low” bond was recommended.
According to Nevada’s sex offender registry, the suspect was convicted of statutory sexual seduction, or having sex with a minor, in November 2006.
Witnesses to the Sunday tragedy described the scene as the SUV barreled through the parade marchers and sped off. Waukesha school district board member Corey Montiho said the SUV ran through his daughter’s dance team and described searching for his family in the carnage.
“They were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter,” he said. “My wife and two daughters were almost hit. Please pray for everybody. Please pray.”
“My family is safe but many are not. I held one little girl’s head in my hand, she was seizing and she was bleeding out of her ears. I held her mother as she collapsed. Please pray,” he added.
Angelito Tenorio, a West Allis alderman and candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer, had just finished marching in the parade when he watched the SUV plow through the crowd.
“We saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route,” Tenorio said. “And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle. And then we saw people running away or stopping crying, and there are people on the ground who looked like they’d been hit by the vehicle.”