With the dust still settling after a red SUV mowed down Christmas parade marchers in a Milwaukee suburb Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring dozens – including children – law enforcement and witnesses at the scene are praising first responders’ handling of the chaos that unfolded.
Brayden Kowalski, 19, one of the witnesses at the scene, described the first responders’ professionalism as “wonderful” in an interview with Fox News.
“It was wonderful,” Kowalski said when describing the first responders’ professionalism and swift actions.
He said it didn’t take long for first responders to arrive on scene and he recounted how paramedics and fire personnel worked their way up through the crowd, starting from where shots were first fired.
He noted that Waukesha, a “peaceful town” about an hour’s drive west of Milwaukee, has never had such a traumatic incident as what happened Sunday.
Still, the EMTs “worked quite well, quite quickly, in a very orderly fashion,” Kowalski said.
Police, meanwhile, were maintaining order in the crowd, allowing family members of the victims to stay nearby, the witness added.
“Officers stood near the bodies … to make sure there was no evidence being messed with and for the sake of their families to maintain order as best they could,” Kowalski said.
Angela O’Boyle witnessed the horror unfold from her apartment balcony. She said police went into high gear immediately after the SUV flew past them and EMT responders were on the scene within minutes.
“It was an instantaneous help by bystanders and EMTs,” she told Fox News. “Everybody was running.”
She said the scene was chaotic but was controlled relatively fast, admitting that she would have been in good hands had she been down on the street below.
Alan Johnson, vice president of critical care and specialty services for Waukesha’s Pro Health Care, praised the “outstanding” work of first responders. He said countless surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and other staffers rushed to the hospital to help the victims.
“What I saw on display last night in response to this crisis was nothing less than the highest level of professionalism,” Johnson told Fox News on Monday. “Our coordination with local fire and local EMS worked flawlessly in the face of this incident.”
Police said at least five people were killed and nearly 50 were injured in the parade attack. The dead were identified as four women ages 52 to 79 and an 81-year-old man. Members of a Dancing Grannies club were among those killed, as was a bank employee.
Police also identified the suspect: Darrel Brooks Jr., a 39-year-old Milwaukee man with a criminal history dating back to 1999. Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said Brooks had left the site of a domestic disturbance before officers arrived and was not being chased by police at the time of the crash.
Police said they were drawing up five charges of intentional homicide against Brooks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.