Flags fly at half-staff on Waukesha Christmas Parade attack anniversary

FILE - A family visits a memorial at Veteran's Park for the victims of Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021's...
FILE - A family visits a memorial at Veteran's Park for the victims of Sunday, Nov. 21, 2021's deadly Christmas parade crash in Waukesha, Wis. on Nov. 23, 2021. A Wisconsin judge is poised to decide Friday whether Darrell Brooks, Jr.,a Milwaukee man accused of plowing his SUV through a suburban Christmas parade, killing six people and injuring dozens more, will stand trial.(Jeffrey Phelps | AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps File)
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 8:47 AM CST
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WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Flags are flying at half-staff Nov. 21 to mark the anniversary of the deadly attack on the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers ordered flags to be lowered in recognition and remembrance of victims Tamara Durand, 52; Wilhelm Hospel, 81; Jane Kulich, 52; Leanna Owen, 71; Virginia Sorenson, 79; and Jackson Sparks, 8.

“As Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the senseless, violent attack at the 2021 Waukesha Christmas Parade, Kathy and I are thinking of the entire Waukesha community, the six people whose lives were mercilessly taken, and all of the loved ones, friends, first responders, and neighbors for whom this anniversary will be especially difficult and traumatic,” said Gov. Evers. “As we remember this tragic event, we also reflect on the first responders, community leaders, and neighbors who ran toward danger to help, every person who responded in the days and months that followed with kindness, empathy, and compassion, and the extraordinary faith, strength, and resilience the Waukesha community has shown over the last year.”

“Our community has been and will be defined by our unity in support of those who lost loved ones, support of those who endured physical injuries, and support of those who suffered emotional trauma,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly in a joint statement. “We begin another chapter in our journey as a community in providing support for those who need healing and finding peace.”

On Wednesday, a judge sentenced Darrell Brooks to six life terms for the attack in which he drove his SUV through the parade route.

A jury convicted Brooks of all 76 counts against him, including 6 counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

Judge Jennifer Dorow said she saw no remorse from Brooks, 40. He spent 2 hours addressing the court Wednesday afternoon, but Dorow said she only heard him say “sorry” once, while he mostly made the speech about himself and at times mocked the victims’ families.

The judge said Brooks’s attempt to blame mental health for his actions was wrong. She said he demonstrated his knowledge of right from wrong many times and had the mental capacity to hit the brakes. Instead, he continued driving over people like “speed bumps.”

The judge said when she listened to the 45 victims statements, it was hard to hold back tears. She hoped the sentence provides justice and closure to his victims.

“This trial is unlike anything I’ve been a part of -- the sheer magnitude of the crime, the number of people impacted, how they were impacted, the vicious, senseless nature of it. Hearing about the impact on our community members and at the parade is heartwrenching,” Judge Dorow said.

Brooks wasn’t in the courtroom for his sentencing but had to watch the proceedings from an adjacent courtroom after interrupting the judge numerous times during the hearing. Finally, the judge warned him that if he continued to interrupt, he would waive his right to be in the courtroom when she handed down the sentence; he challenged her previous orders and refused to sit down when he was told.