People across America, and in other countries, have donated over $1.5 million to victims of the Christmas parade attack.
Six people were killed by a driver who plowed an SUV into the parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Nov. 21. The driver was identified as Darrell Brooks; he was arrested, charged, and is being held on $5 million bail. Charging documents indicate the longtime felon intentionally attacked the parade with the vehicle.
Over a quarter of the donations have been raised by a fundraiser for the Sparks family.
Jackson Sparks, 8, died from injuries he suffered during the attack, the family announced Tuesday. Tucker Sparks, 12, is in intensive care at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
The boy’s parents are at his bedside while mourning the loss of their other son, their niece wrote on GoFundMe. The money people donate will help deal with mounting medical expenses as the parents miss work, she said.
The second top fundraiser is for the Waukesha West High School band, which was participating in the parade when the vehicle was driven into the crowds.
Kali Granzow, director of the band, said that students in the band were among those left injured.
The money will help pay for medical care, new instruments, and uniforms, “as well as any additional expenses that they may encounter due to this horrific event,” Granzow wrote on the fundraising page.
Other campaigns are to help pay for the medical care of Julia, a young girl who suffered brain trauma after being struck, and Jessalyn, another girl who was hurt badly; and to help fund funerals for the deceased, including Virginia Sorenson, 79, and Jane Kulich, 52.
According to a criminal complaint made public this week, Brooks refused to stop his red Ford Escape despite attempts by law enforcement officials. One detective recalled the driver passing by a street that would have been a reasonable way to exit the parade. Instead, the driver increased the vehicle’s speed and turned directly into parade participants.
“At this point, it was clear to Officer Butryn that this was an intentional act to strike and hurt as many people as possible,” authorities stated.
Another detective witnessed the SUV drive in a zig zag motion. A witness who confirmed this told police that he thought the driver’s actions indicated “a direct intent to hit as many parade participants [as possible].”
Social media accounts linked to Brooks showed he had posts promoting violence toward white people and claims about so-called white privilege.
Brooks did not speak during his first court appearance and has not posted bail.
The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 14, 2022.