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Authorities Provide Update to Waukesha Parade Ramming Investigation; Closing Arguments Continue in Ahmaud Arbery Trial. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 14:00   ET



LAURA HOGUE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR GREG MCMICHAEL: Burglary is a felony, entering a dwelling place without authority with the intent to commit a theft in there, not an actual fact, but the reason, the mind- set for going into a place that's not yours.

So, how do you know that if there wasn't actually a theft? Judge Walmsley will tell you. The law will allow you to infer an intent to steal. If there's an unlawful entry, meaning crossing into a place that's not yours, a place where valuables are stored -- and you heard testimony that plenty of valuables were stored at 220 Satilla Drive -- with no other apparent motive for being there.

That means every single time Ahmaud Arbery goes into that house, he is committing a burglary. But you hardly needed a jury...

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK, folks, we want to go now to Waukesha, Wisconsin. This is the press conference for that tragedy at the Christmas parade where a car plowed into parade marchers.

Let's listen in.


DAN THOMPSON, WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN, POLICE CHIEF: ... SUV through barricades into a crowd of people that was celebrating the Waukesha Christmas Parade, which resulted in killing five individuals and injuring 48 additional individuals.

I just received information that two of the 48 are children, and they're in critical condition. We have information that the suspect prior to the incident was involved in a domestic disturbance, which was just minutes prior, and the suspect left that scene just prior to our arrival to the domestic disturbance.

When the suspect was driving through and into the crowd, one officer did discharge his firearm and fire shots at the suspect to stop the threat, but due to the amount of people had to stop and stop and fire no -- did not fire any other additional shots.

The officer is on administrative leave as part of the department protocol. No one was injured as a result of the officer firing his -- discharging his fire weapon -- firearm. The subject was taken into custody a short distance from the scene and

we are confident he acted alone. There is no evidence that this is a terrorist incident.

Due to the wind yesterday, there was a power outage in downtown Waukesha that further complicate our emergency response.

I want to identify the victims that we know of at this time.

And I say this with great sorrow. Virginia Sorenson, 79-year-old female, Leanna Owens, 71-year-old female, Tamara Durand, 52-year-old female, Jane Coolidge, 52-year-old female, Wilhelm Hospel, 81-year-old male.

The suspect involved in this tragic incident is identified as Darrell Edward E. Brooks, a male, 39 years of age, who is a resident of city of Milwaukee.

At this time, the Waukesha Police Department is referring five counts of first-degree intentional homicide with additional charges based on the investigation. But those will come in time.

There are many roads in the downtown area that were closed as investigators worked through the crime scene. Those roads have since been opened.

I will say this. Minutes after the incident occurred, I responded to the scene. And what I saw out of chaos and tragedy was heroes, first responders in the community coming together and working together on triaging victims, the fire department -- working in partnership with the fire department, getting these victims to the hospital.

The fire department transported multiple victims. Chief Howard will talk about that. Officers picked up victims. They put them in the squad and rushed them to the hospital. And citizens also picked up victims and rushed them to the hospital.

There was also off-duty law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel that were attending this event who immediately got involved and took part in saving lives.


I want to thank our community partners.

I want to dispel some rumors. There was no pursuit that led up to this incident. This is not a terrorist event.

I want to thank our first responders partners. It is a long list. And I apologize, we apologize if I forgot anyone.

The Waukesha Police -- Waukesha Fire Department, no words can express the partnership that we have with the Waukesha Fire Department and how we worked together as one in this incident.

MABAS, Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, Chief Howard will talk about, the Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team, which we call SMART, responded, which it includes a dozen local of law enforcement agencies, FBI, ATF, the state, Division of Criminal Investigations, school district of Waukesha, the Milwaukee Fire -- the Police Department Fusion Center, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, Wisconsin State Patrol.

After this press conference, we will provide a link on our Web site for any questions regarding witness information, if there is any additional video that a system might have that can look at this link, or any family members or individuals that need to recover property.

The Waukesha Police Department Web site 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.

Thank you.



Before I get started, on behalf of the men and women of the Waukesha Fire Department, I would like to say our prayers go out to the families and the whole community that was affected by yesterday's tragedy.

The City of Walensky Fire Department responded to a mass casualty incident yesterday afternoon. All 26 on-duty personnel responded to the incident from five stations. Our closest downtown station was within sight of the parade route.

Our units started to spontaneously respond based on radio traffic and dispatch information. We immediately activated our mass casualty protocol and utilized the MABAS, which is our mutual aid system, mutual box alarm system, to the second level to provide us with additional resources to treat the victims.

We received resources from 12 area fire departments. We were also aided greatly by off-duty firefighters and EMS personnel. Medical personnel and just civilian bystanders, they greatly assisted us with our initial treatment and triage of patients.

Patients were transported to six area hospitals, with the fire department, EMS transporting 22 patients. Law enforcement personnel, bystanders also transported additional personnel or additional victims to the hospital.

At this time, we believe that 48 people were treated at local hospitals, although this number might increase based on information being gathered.

Like Chief Thompson, I also had an opportunity. I did respond to the incident. Got there just a little bit after the chief did. And based on my observations, very, very overwhelmed by the response of the community to this tragedy.

People banded together to do the best they could to deal with this incident. Last night, going out and visiting the fire stations and the people that responded, overwhelmingly, our personnel expressed their sincere thanks for everyone who stepped up and assisted with the treatment of the citizens that were injured.

Again, our hearts go out to the families and the victims of this senseless tragedy. And we appreciate all of the assistance and support that has been offered to the City of Waukesha Fire Department.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor Shawn Reilly.


Last night, we experienced a senseless tragedy.

Many of us were participants in the parade and witnessed these horrific actions. We all -- we are all trying to process what we experienced. Our police, firefighters, partners and so many others sprang into action immediately last night to help the people that were injured.


For those of you 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 could be described as a Norman Rockwell type of campus 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 a loss of a loved one or were injured. We will work together to bring healing.

The healing needs to begin now. With that in mind, I share the following. A prayer vigil will be held tonight at 5:00 p.m. at Cutler Park. The Waukesha Public Library, which is immediately adjacent to it, will be closing at 4:00 p.m., so the public could utilize that parking lot.

The downtown South Street parking ramp, which is also immediately near it, will also be open for free parking. We know that members of the community want to help out and help the victims. The Waukesha County Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County has joined together to create the United For Waukesha Community Fund.

This fund will support the needs of the families impacted, and there will be a Web site on our page that will tell you how to access that fund.

Many people witnessed traumatic events last evening. If you need to talk to someone, you can call or text 800-985-5990 to be connected to a trained caring counselor. And they are available 24/7. That number will also be on our Web site.

Please only call 911 for true emergencies. There will be a resource center set up at Carroll University for all victims from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. On Wednesday. That information will be placed upon our Web site.

The District Attorney Victim Assistance Program is also available to provide assistance, and an e-mail for that service will be shared on social media.

Our community needs to heal from physical injury and emotional trauma and what was taken from us by this senseless act. What we do today and the day as head is what will define us as a city. And I know we will come together and help Waukesha heal.

Thank you.



I'm deeply saddened by yesterday's events and the tremendous impact they are having on both our school community and the larger Waukesha community.

I want to begin by thanking our partners at the city and the police and fire departments for their leadership and partnership. We are focused on our kids, our staff and our families and making resources available to them.

We stand with our community, and are one of the resources for support as we navigate this tragic event. The school district of Waukesha is providing internal assistance, as well as resources outside of the district, to support kids, staff, and families.

Should families need guidance on how to address trauma with your children, please do not hesitate to reach out to the student services staff at your child's school. We're actively dispatching additional support to our schools for staff and students.

Your school administration and student services team can connect you with our crisis counseling staff in a very timely manner. School psychologists, social workers, school counselors and community mental health providers are available and trained to support children and families in crisis today and into the future.


I also want to thank our surrounding school districts, Waukesha County, our local health care partners, the Department of Public Instruction, and the governor's office for their support of the school district of Waukesha during this time.

We also provided meals today from noon to 1:00 p.m. across the district, and we will do the same tomorrow at the following sites via their maybe entrance, Butler, Horning and Les Paul middle schools, as well as North and South and West high schools.

I'm announcing at this time that the school district of Waukesha will again be closed for classes on Tuesday, November 13. Our counseling and lunch services will be available to students and staff again tomorrow. The district will resume classes after the Thanksgiving holiday, per our school calendar, on Monday November 29.

We ask that you respect the privacy of our students, staff and families, and that you do not try to interview students, staff or families at our school sites.

Further information and any additional updates will continue to be available on our district Web site.

And I am deeply sorry that we are here today. And we look forward to healing both as a school community and a larger Waukesha community.



I'm vice president of critical care and specialty services for ProHealth Care.

In my role, I work closely with our emergency departments, our critical care units and our mass casualty incident command process.

I'd like to start by expressing my sympathies and those of everyone at ProHealth Care for the victims and their families. This was truly a tragedy for our entire community.

I'd like to thank all of the first responders and the others who came together to do what was required last night. All involved did outstanding work. Among the 48 victims of the parade tragedy who were transported to area hospitals, 29 arrived at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

The hospital is just blocks away from the parade route. And victims started arriving very quickly after the incident. In fact, many of ProHealth Care's staff were attending the parade, witnessed this tragedy, and provided immediate first aid to victims. There were many children among the victims brought to Waukesha

Memorial. After initial assessment, stabilization and treatment, we transferred 11 of those to Children's of Wisconsin.

Four victims were admitted to Waukesha Memorial. They are all currently stable, and many of them will likely discharge from the hospital today. Those patients admitted included both children and adults; 12 people were treated in our emergency department and released. One patient presented to us and left without being seen.

Sadly, one of the victims who was brought to Waukesha Memorial was pronounced dead on arrival.

In addition to those who were on duty at Waukesha Memorial last night, many others rushed to the hospital to help. They included nearly every one of our emergency department physicians, countless surgeons, anesthesiologists, hospitalists and nurses.

What I saw on display last night in response to this crisis was nothing less than the highest level of professionalism. Our coordination with local fire and local EMS worked flawlessly in the face of this incident. And, on behalf of ProHealth Care, I want to thank everybody for participating.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time, we will open it up for a few questions. But be mindful.

Nick, I will start with you from Channel 12.

Be mindful that we're going to be limited in scope with the information that we -- can be released at this time, due to maintaining the integrity of the investigation, moreover, the judicial process.

We want to be transparent, but we're also mindful that we're not going to compromise in any aspect of this investigation. We're dealing with five counts of intentional first-degree homicide here. Please be mindful of those when you ask your questions.


I'm sorry. Nick.

QUESTION: What can you tell us about the arrest? Where was he located and was there an incident there? Was he injured? Did he say anything about what led up to this and what happened and why he kept going?

THOMPSON: There is about five questions in that one question. So I'm going to do my best to try to answer that.


We can tell that you that the investigation did not indicate that there is any type of domestic or national type of terrorism. We can tell you there was some type of disturbance that we suspect was between the suspect and another individual, individuals in a different location just prior to the incident.

Shortly after this tragedy occurred, officers immediately identified the suspect's vehicle, and, shortly after that, they apprehended the suspect. The suspect had no injuries. And then, after he was detained, he was taken into our custody.

QUESTION: Did he say anything about why he...


THOMPSON: That is still ongoing. And this is a fluid investigation.

What we do not want to do is jeopardize the integrity of this investigation at any point. Right now, our focus, the Waukesha Police Department's focus, the city of Waukesha's focus is the families, the victim, and due process, right, because that is important.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this for the chief?

OK, go ahead.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) domestic situation. We understand that there may have been a knife involved. And did Brooks know someone in the parade?

THOMPSON: So, we have no information that Brooks knew anybody in the parade.

But I will say this. We weren't able to even respond to that domestic call before it actually -- so we couldn't even investigate it. So was there 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was this 458? Chief or...

QUESTION: There's been a lot of confusion about just how this person got to the parade, I guess question about barricades and that kind of thing. Is there anything that has come up in your investigation that you can speak to about why that would be and how he actually got through and managed to get to this crowd?

THOMPSON: I will tell you this.

We actually had a squad and barricades up. And he drove right through the barricades and the officers. When the officers tried engage and stop the threat, he still continued through the crowd. QUESTION: Chief, what was the distance (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going with Channel 4 next. Be mindful of the rules.

QUESTION: We really appreciate it if you could go back and spell the names of those victims you mentioned earlier. (OFF-MIKE)

THOMPSON: Just be give me a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, while we're waiting, I will come back to you.

Nikki from "The Freeman," go ahead. And who is this for?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) that the vehicle traveled down and where the vehicle (OFF-MIKE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The parade route where the vehicle entered was in the air of Hartwell and Main Street. And the end of the parade route where the vehicle took off from was like right around Veterans Park, Main and Maple area, Main and Wisconsin Avenue.

OK, back to 4.

Are you ready?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to repeat the names.

And again I apologize for getting emotional about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chief, actually, we're going to put it on the release. I will put the names out in the press release. We will post that on the Internet, so we get all outlets.

Yes, state where your agency is from and your name, who you would like to speak to.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) question for Chief Howard.


QUESTION: Chief, what did your first responders see (OFF-MIKE). What have they said to you?

HOWARD: It was just -- I guess for a lack of a better -- just carnage, likening it to a war zone.

There were adults, children that were injured. Some of our first responders were there with their families. They left their families to treat people, helped with incident command, helped transport, along with many other medical personnel and people that were there. But I guess the -- what stands out in my mind from our conversations

is that we do have people who have military backgrounds and likened to it a war zone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will get two more questions.

I will go back right there. Gentlemen, with your hand up. Your agency and who would you like to question to?



QUESTION: Chief, could you tell us anything about the suspect's previous record, allegations that he may have tried to run over his girlfriend in the past (OFF-MIKE)

THOMPSON: My focus, our focus right now is this incident. This tragic incident is what we're focused on and the families and victims of this incident.

Thank you.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chief Thompson, Adrienne Broaddus here from CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who would you like to speak to, Chief Thompson or Chief Howard?

BROADDUS: Chief Thompson.


BROADDUS: Adrienne Broaddus for CNN.



BROADDUS: Talk to us about those who are grieving that you know. What memories do you have of them?

THOMPSON: I will talk about the incident itself and being there and seeing -- I will give you one.

As I'm watching officers and fire personnel triaging and taking victims and putting them in ambulances and putting them in squad cars, I have a nurse who walks up to me and said: "My mother was injured. Can we get her help?"

Sure enough, we helped her get her mother into a vehicle and we escorted her -- the vehicle out of the scene safely. This is -- for the family, I want to ask you to respect the family. This is a very tragic incident. And, again, it's still fluid, so -- and ongoing. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, we're going stop the questions right


Like I said earlier, we will put a press release out shortly, probably within the next 60 minutes. It's going to identify the links. It's going to identify some of the phone numbers that people can reach out to.

At this time, we do not have a follow-up press conference at this time. Everything will be done via press releases. If there is a press conference, we will give everybody, all of our affiliates ample amount of time to come back to the City Hall.

Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: All right, you have been listening to the Waukesha, Wisconsin, police presser.

It's -- they have begin us a lot of information about this horrible crime, this horrible mass casualty event, as they have just called it, including the names and ages of the victims.

We know now that there were two -- well, there was a 79-year-old woman killed, a 71-year-old woman killed, two 52-year-old woman killed, and an 81-year-old man.

We also know there are scores of victims still in the hospital, including children. And we also learned more about the suspect who has been taken into custody, including his name, Darrell Brooks, and his age, 39 years old. He is a resident of Milwaukee.

And we only know scant details about what led up to this horrible crime.

Joining us now is CNN's senior law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus us is with us in -- Waukesha police also.

Charles, Commissioner Ramsey, what did you hear there at the press conference?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, we did get an awful lot of information from this particular press conference.

There was no pursuit, which was a rumor before. This is not associated with any kind of terrorist attack, and that the individual was involved in some kind of domestic dispute prior to driving off. We don't know exactly any information about that, was anybody injured or anything like that. And, also, they verified, which we knew last night, that a police officer did discharge a weapon at the vehicle that was moving toward the crowd.

So there was a lot of information that came out of this. And, obviously, there's still a lot of work that has to be done.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I agree. There was a lot that we didn't know, but still so many questions,

Juliette. I mean, it's, I guess, comforting to know that this wasn't part of some larger plot. But what happened? I mean, are we just going to find out that this suspect was under the influence of something? We just -- they didn't give us many details.



If there's not a pursuit, why was he speeding like that? Because you would understand speeding like that if you're trying to evade police. And so we don't know what the altercation was that was being alluded to between him and someone he knew or a family member. He's not from -- he's nearby, but he's not from the area. So that will come out.

But the fact that it was not a pursuit, but just a flee, is interesting, because that doesn't -- you would have more control, say, over your speed. I think the most important thing coming out of this in the way that we measure news and good news is that there's going to be no more press conferences, that this is now a community tragedy.

It is not one that is going to have national consequences in terms of terrorism or some racial issue, which people were speculating about yesterday. It's a tragedy for the community and for those of us who feel for such things, but they are closing this down as sort of a national event which it's been for the last 24 hours.

CAMEROTA: Yes, Commissioner.

So, again, the suspect is named Darrell Brooks, 39 years old. The police chief there said there was some disturbance prior to the event. Why not put more details on that? I mean, the community wants to know. They seem to be playing that very close to the vest.