On Monday, Waukesha police chief Daniel Thompson, responding to rumors that police were pursuing the suspect in the horrific incident on Sunday in Waukesha, Wisconsin, before he plowed into a Christmas parade and killed at least five people and injured more than 40 people others, stated firmly, “I want to dispel some rumors: there was no pursuit that led up to this incident.” He warned, “The Waukesha Police Department website is the only source for information. Do not release information from any other source as it has not been vetted and could lead to false information.”
In the aftermath of the incident, some media outlets focused on reporting that the suspect, who has been charged with five murders, had been “fleeing” another crime scene when he plowed his SUV violently into a Christmas parade where people of all ages, from children to elderly adults were participating.
The Washington Post quoted an unnamed “law enforcement official” saying Brooks’ intent was to “escape the police”:
The law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the initial stages of the investigation, told The Washington Post that investigators have not found anything tying the parade incident to terrorism or ideology. It appears that the main intent was to escape the police from the prior incident, the official said.
ABC News reported, “Investigators are looking into whether the SUV driver who plowed through a Christmas parade in suburban Milwaukee, killing at least five people and injuring more than 40, was fleeing a crime, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press.”
On Monday morning, CNN’s S.E. Cupp tweeted, “BREAKING: CNN reports Waukesha driver who plowed into parade was fleeing another crime scene, not an act of terrorism or retaliation.”
BREAKING: CNN reports Waukesha driver who plowed into parade was fleeing another crime scene, not an act of terrorism or retaliation.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) November 22, 2021
Eighteen minutes later, the Twitter account of CNN Breaking News tweeted, “There are indications the person held in the deadly Wisconsin parade incident was fleeing another scene, sources say.”
There are indications the person held in the deadly Wisconsin parade incident was fleeing another scene, sources say. Follow live updates: https://t.co/7IhJdlnDii
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 22, 2021
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Riley stated on Monday:
Last night we experienced a senseless tragedy. Many of us were participants in the parade and witnessed these horrific actions; we are all trying to process what we experienced. Our police, firefighters partners and so many other ssprang into action immediately last night to help the people that were injured.
For those of those who do not live in Waukesha, you need to know that Waukesha is a community that helps their neighbors. Waukesha is a community that takes pride in its identity and has a wonderful spirit. Waukesha looks after each other. Waukesha enjoys its celebrations and the entire community joins in those celebrations. We are a close community. Waukesha is a community where many of its residents have lived for generations. Waukesha is also the type of community where new residents tell their friends to move here because it is so special.
Waukesha has held what can be described as a Norman Rockwell type of Christmas parade for almost six decades. Last night, our wonderful Waukesha parade became the scene of a horrific tragedy. Last night, that parade became a nightmare. Last night, many were severely injured. Last night, lives were lost during the middle of what should have been a celebration. Last night, many were severely injured, lost their lives and all who were there were traumatized. We experienced a horrific tragedy. We have so much healing that needs to occur.
Waukesha, though, will not be defined by the horrific events of last night. We are a community that will come together. We will help those who experienced the loss of a loved one or were injured. We will work together to bring healing. The healing needs to begin now.