Just two days before Thanksgiving, students in Waukesha, Wisconsin, who normally bask in the warmth of the upcoming holidays instead reminisce slaughter they saw Sunday when a man cut down dozens of people during the annual Christmas parade — what one witness described as “very similar” to a war zone.
“It was actually the most horrifying experience of my life,” one witness said of the gut-wrenching moment she saw a car coming towards her sister’s parade.
“Suddenly, out of nowhere, the SUV flew down,” Keli Kowalewski said. WISN 12 News.
Kowalewski’s sister, who was not physically harmed, was marching with the Memorial Poms Catholic dance team when a suspect was identified by police as Darrell Brooks is accused of intentionally cutting down marchers, killing at least 5 people and injuring 48 others.
Students performing in the dance team and in the marching band of South Waukesha High School were the premise and center of the tragedy.
“Cars like this were close to us and sped past us to my left,” Isabella Maher, captain of the dance team, recalled in comments to WISN 12.
During the initial chaotic moments of the attack, she said she and other team members struggled to understand what was going on.
“We saw some people lying on the ground and we thought maybe someone was hurt in the front and the car was going to run towards them. But then people started panicking,” she said.
Suddenly these teenagers did the unthinkable: “I started honestly checking the bodies on the street to make sure they weren’t anyone I knew.”
Angela Cooper, a chaperone at the Memorial Catholic High School student parade, told WISN 12 that even students unscathed by the attack will be scarred by what they look at see.
“I can’t get those images out of my head and I know these students can’t either.”
Outside the five people were killed during the attack— Tamara Durand, 52 years old; Virginia “Ginny” Sorenson is 79 years old; LeAnna Owen is 71 years old; Jane Kulich is 52 years old; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81 – more than a dozen children were injured, some of them critically.
An 11-year-old girl who joined the parade as a member of the Waukesha Xtreme Dance group was left “fighting for her life” after she was hit head-on by an SUV, according to a GoFundMe campaign start for her family.
On Monday, Jessalynn Kohnke was said to be in the ICU with major organ injuries.
Her uncle Ryan Kohnke said he and his children watched the nightmare unfold when Brooks allegedly drove into the crowd. “He hesitated for a moment. Just a moment later he shot it from here,” Kohnke said TMJ 4 News. Moments later, he said, he ran into the crowd to see his granddaughter “laying in the middle of the five corners, downtown Waukesha.”
“Unfortunately, my children were with me and they saw it too,” he said, likening the scene to the aftermath of the war, which he says he saw during his military service. in Iraq.
“This is very similar and that’s the first thing that comes to mind, just seeing all those bodies.”
Perhaps most heartbreakingly, the massacre seemed to take place shortly after young people marching saw Santa.
Corrine Long, a resident living along the parade route said TMJ 4 The news she watched from her porch as the merry parade often turned violent.
“Santa had just passed our house and then we saw the red SUV drive past…”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/waukesha-dance-team-kid-recalls-searching-for-friends-among-bodies-on-the-street?source=articles&via=rss Waukesha Kid dance team recalls finding friends among ‘body on the street’