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8-year-old is 6th person to die in Waukesha parade tragedy

Darrell Brooks appeared in court for the first time Tuesday.
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 2:29 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 23, 2021 at 10:30 PM CST
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WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) — An 8-year-old child has become the sixth person to die from injuries sustained when a vehicle plowed through the Waukesha Christmas parade Sunday, prosecutors revealed Tuesday when the man accused of killing them appeared in court for the first time.

Jackson Sparks, 8, passed away Tuesday, according to a post from Life Point Church on Facebook and an update shared on a GoFundMe fundraiser. He was walking in the parade along with his brother, who is still hospitalized. The other five people who were killed were adults.

“This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” the page’s organizer, Alyssa Albro, wrote.

In an update Tuesday night, Children’s Wisconsin shared with its “deepest sympathy and sorrow” that the child had died from their injuries sustained during the parade.

Eight-year-old Jackson Sparks passed away from injuries suffered in Sunday's Waukesha Christmas...
Eight-year-old Jackson Sparks passed away from injuries suffered in Sunday's Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.(GoFundMe via TMJ4)

Jackson was one of 16 children admitted to the Milwaukee hospital following the incident. Six are currently listed as in critical condition, three are in fair condition and four are in good condition.

Children’s Wisconsin noted two families were able to take their children home on Monday, where they will continue to recover.

The hospital has created a Mental and Behavioral Health Helpline for families looking for additional support. You can call 414-266-6500.

Prosecutors plan to file a sixth first degree intentional homicide charge against Darrell Brooks, Jr., the driver of the vehicle that raced into the parade crowd. He already faces five homicide charges in connection with the other deaths stemming from the tragedy.

Brooks appeared in a Waukesha Co. courtroom for the first time Tuesday to face those initial charges. He could be heard crying during the proceeding, leaning over with his head nearly in his lap, with his attorney resting a hand on his back.

First-degree intentional homicide can carry the stiffest penalty possible under Wisconsin law — mandatory life in prison.

Brooks’ bail was set at $5 million. He will likely appear in court next on Jan. 14, 2022.

Other lesser charges were also expected to be filed against Brooks related to the more than 60 additional people who were injured when an SUV barreled through the parade route at a high speed, sending people flying through the air.

Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks, 39, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier when he drove into the parade route.

Thompson, the police chief, said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that Brooks knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said.

Brooks had left the site of the domestic disturbance before officers arrived, and was not being chased by police at the time of the crash, according to the chief, who gave no further details on the dispute.

NBC News published doorbell camera footage that appeared to capture Brooks’ arrest. It showed Brooks, shivering in just a T-shirt, knocking on a homeowner’s door and asking for help calling for a ride. Moments later, police surrounded the house and shouted, “Hands up!” Brooks, standing on the porch, held up his hands and said, “Whoa whoa whoa!”

Hundreds gathered at a downtown park Monday night in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for a candlelight vigil in honor of those lost and hurt. A pair of clergy solemnly read the names of those who died. Volunteers handed out sandwiches, hot chocolate and candles at the vigil, which was attended by interfaith leaders and elected officials.

“We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong,” said a tearful Amanda Medina Roddy with the Waukesha school district.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a “Norman Rockwell-type” event that “became a nightmare.”

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The Associated Press contributed to this article. Scott Bauer reported from Madison, Wisconsin. Associated Press writer Doug Glass contributed from Minneapolis.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.