A vehicle rammed through a Christmas march in the US state of Wisconsin on Sunday, leaving five dead and 40 injured, said police.
Authorities were all the while gathering information on the occurrence which happened soon after 4:30 pm (2230 GMT), as observers in the town of Waukesha, a Milwaukee suburb, attended the yearly event.
“The Waukesha Christmas parade was taking place when a red SUV broke through the barricades, westbound, headed down Main Street,” told Dan Thompson, the Police Chief.
“The vehicle struck more than 20 individuals, some of the individuals were children and there were some fatalities as a result of this incident,” he said.
Fire Chief Steven Howard told reporters that a total of 20 adults and 12 children were taken to the local hospitals.
The person in question and the vehicle has been recovered, said Thompson. There are no more threats, said the officials.
Reportedly during the occurrence an official fired at the SUV trying to stop it.
Schools will be closed on Monday and the roads will remain blocked because of the ongoing investigation, said Thompson.
US President Joe Biden got the briefing about the incident and the White House is “closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible incident,” a White House official said.
“We have reached out to state and local officials to offer any support and assistance as needed,” the official further said.
While nearby law enforcement were the essential reacting bodies, the FBI said it was giving help.
Angelito Tenorio, who is running for Wisconsin state treasurer, was at the march and told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he “saw an SUV cross over, just put the pedal to the metal and just zooming full speed along the parade route.”
“And then we heard a loud bang, and just deafening cries and screams from people who are struck by the vehicle,” he added.
As per the bystanders and recording, the SUV sped into the march behind a school marching band.
“All I heard was screaming and then people yelling out their children’s names. That’s all I heard” said a witness, Angela O’Boyle, whose apartment looked over the march.
The Governor of Wisconsin and his wife were “praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act.”
Different legislators communicated their condolences, including the state’s two congresspersons, with Democrat Tammy Baldwin writing on Twitter that she found the “horrific violence… just heartbreaking.”
Ron Johnson, her Republican counterpart offered his “prayers for everyone injured” and “gratitude for all law enforcement, medical personnel, and community members who are responding.”
The episode comes following a turbulent week in the province of Wisconsin following the end of the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, an American teen acquitted after lethally shooting two men during protests and uproars against police torture last year in Kenosha, found only 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Waukesha.