The life and crimes of accused Waukesha Christmas parade killer Darrell Brooks

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Milwaukee — The man who turned a bizarre, small-town Christmas parade into a blood-soaked nightmare that killed six and injured more than 60 is a career criminal who spent more than half of his life imprisoned, drugged. Is trapped in drug abuse and revolving door. Violence.

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Darrell Brooks, 39, allegedly used a red Ford Escape to plow through ravines at an annual Christmas celebration in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Sunday, but his life of crime began 22 years ago when he was just 17. was years old.

Over the next two decades, Brooks would wreak havoc in three states as he served sentences for abusing his associates, raping and impregnating a teenager, and a consistent streak of other violent crimes.

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A review of his history – patched together from court documents, criminal records, interviews and public records – reveals that throughout the course, not a single social safety net caught him until it was too late. .

cycle of tragedy

Court records show that Brooks was just 11 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression when he grew up in the inner city of Milwaukee without his father.

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The papers state that he was admitted to a mental hospital at the age of 12 and attempted suicide several times in his early years after losing his grandmother and seeing his father abusing his mother.

“I didn’t have a father growing up, so my mother was stuck raising me and my older sister. We were on welfare for most of our childhood,” Brooks wrote in a letter to a judge in 2007.

Darrell Brooks talks about his arrest and conviction for having sex with a 16-year-old in Nevada.
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“My father was an alcoholic who used to abuse my mother a lot. My father’s father was also an alcoholic,” he wrote. “I grew up in an inner city full of drugs and prostitution.”

Brooks claimed in the letter that his mother, a Christian woman of Southern descent, helped him out of trouble on the streets, but despite her best efforts, Brooks would continue to follow in his father’s footsteps.

He eventually became an addict, a habitual domestic abuser who was subjected to violence and threats – and used a vehicle as a weapon on several occasions, officials said.

Brooks, in his 2007 letter to the judge, expressed regret that he knew it was like “walking your own flesh and blood on you” and claimed that he just wanted to give his children what he never had: ” a father.”

But by then, Brooks had already given birth to her first child before she was 3 months old.

“He disappeared,” the child’s mother told The Post during a recent interview. “I’ve done it all on my own, raised my own child.”

The woman started a paternity case in Waukesha County for failure to pay child support that continues to this day.

life of crime

A year later, Brooks was charged with his first felony in 1999 at the age of 17, in which he was given three years’ probation for battery sufficient to cause bodily harm. But he soon found himself embroiled in the law once again, facing rape charges over separate incidents in 2002 and 2003.

In 2005, he moved to Reno, Nevada for a fresh start, but within a year, he was charged with statutory sexual solicitation and of contributing to a minor’s felony after raping and becoming pregnant with a minor girl. which he claims to have told him. She was 18 years old at that time.

He settled the case by pleading guilty but was ordered not to contact the victim – a requirement he repeatedly violated by calling the juvenile using a stolen phone card and confronting him at the bus stop, sending him back to jail. where he served only 129 days, records show.

As a result of that conviction, Brooks was forced to register as a sex offender in the state and while behind bars, he participated in a documentary called “Crystal Darkness” in 2007.

Darrell Brooks plowed over 40 while rapping on video with the same car in Kenausha Wisconsin on Sunday, November 21.
Darrell Brooks raps on video with the same vehicle that is accused of ramming more than 40 people into Waukesha, Wisconsin.

He told filmmaker Logan Needham about his struggles with methamphetamine and his failures as a father.

“I thought I’d be this amazing father, the greatest father ever… I’m going to give him everything I didn’t have. Then it’s like reality. You really become a drug, Brooks said in the film of his addiction.

Needham told The Post that he remembered Brooks “seeing very real” in his desire to turn his life around.

“We interviewed people who got killed and did other really bad things, and now they are facing the consequences,” Needham said this week. “It was always very sad. But with [Brooks], I felt like he definitely had regrets. And I think he felt bad about the decision he made to get him off the ground. ,

Needham said that over the years, he occasionally received updates about the inmates he interviewed, but lost track of Brooks and said he was shocked to hear that he was a suspect linked to the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy. Were.

increasing violence

Between 2009 and 2011, Brooks was in and out of prison for a range of crimes, including strangulation and suffocation, resisting or obstructing an officer.

During a 2011 bust, an officer was charged with restraining or obstructing for the second time after being pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.

“During a traffic stop, a Milwaukee police officer jumped inside Brooks’ car, fearing he would be crushed,” Reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of matter.

“While the officer was talking to him, Brooks started to drive, the officer got inside the car and wrestled for control of the steering wheel.”

Darrell Brooks, suspect in Waukesha Christmas parade, drives SUV during stampede in Wisconsin.
Darrell Brooks turns a small-town Christmas parade into a blood-soaked nightmare on November 21, 2021.
Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office/

Eventually, the officer stopped the car and removed the keys as Brooks fled. He was later found hiding in the children’s playhouse on the same block and was taken into custody.

In 2016, Brooks was busted again for failing to register as a sex offender, and in July 2020, he fired a gun at his nephew during a fight over a cellphone.

Court papers say that Anaji Brooks told police that after an altercation he got into a friend’s car and was on the run, when his uncle “went into the front yard with a gun and fired a shot at him, “The court papers say.

Officers soon found Brooks with a stolen Beretta 9mm handgun and a clear plastic baggie with three multi-colored methamphetamine bullets, records show.

Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, is the lone suspect in the Waukesha Christmas Parade tragedy, according to Police Chief Thompson.
Darrell Brooks is a registered sex offender in Nevada and had an active arrest warrant in that state, court records show.
© Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office/Zuma Press Wire

He was charged on two counts of recklessly endangering security and using a dangerous weapon and ordered to stay away from his nephew and his mother.

in a victim impact statement Received by Daily Mail, the nephew wrote that the encounter “led me to the conclusion that this man was not my family or relative.”

Brooks was facing 10 years behind bars for the crime – the heaviest sentence he has ever faced, but when courts were unable to guarantee him a speedy trial due to a backlog of cases and delays related to COVID-19 was released in February 2021. On $500 bail.

From there, Brooks went to Georgia, where he was arrested for misdemeanor battery with a designation of family violence, three months after his release, prosecutors said in the Waukesha courtroom on Tuesday.

the final straw

After Brooks’ troubles in Georgia, he made his way back to Wisconsin, where his penchant for violence revived while he was staying with his ex-girlfriend at the American Inn Motel in Milwaukee’s Lenox Heights neighborhood.

Brooks allegedly assaulted the woman and knocked her cellphone out of her hand and followed her in the Ford Escape when she fled.

He grabbed her at a BP gas station about a half-mile from the motel and demanded her sit in his car, court records allege. When he refused, he hit her in the face and then trampled her with his car, leaving the woman with “swelling lips and dry blood on her face” and “tire tracks on the leg of her left pant” .

People gather at a memorial at Veterans Park on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 in Waukesha, Wis.
People gather at the Parade Victims Memorial at Veterans Park in Waukesha on November 23, 2021.
james kivom

According to police reports obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the ex-girlfriend later told police that Brooks had allegedly threatened to kill her on several occasions, having previously tried to strangle her and was acting jealous and controlling. Was.

Brooks denied the allegations and suggested to police that the woman made them because she was intoxicated.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm later said he was charged with negligently endangering security, bail jumping, battery and disorderly conduct in the incident, but was granted an “unreasonably low” bail of $1,000. , leaving them free to wreak havoc on Christmas. About three weeks later the parade.

That Sunday at around 4:35 pm, the Waukesha Police Department was alerted to another domestic disturbance involving Brooks and an ex-girlfriend in the vicinity of White Rock School.

Video from the Daniel Riders Ring Doorbell captured on the arrest of Waukesha Parade rampage suspect Darrell Brooks, Tuesday, November 23, 2021.
A Ring doorbell camera captures the arrest of Waukesha Parade rampage suspect Darrell Brooks on November 23, 2021.

But by the time the police responded, it was too late.

Police said that as Brooks drove away from the school, he headed for the Christmas parade, broke through barricades and marched through revelers and marchers celebrating the annual event with “no emotion on his face.” It killed six people – the youngest being 8-year-old Jackson Sparks – and injured dozens, many still hospitalised.

“There are no words to describe the risk this defendant is posing to our community,” prosecutor Susan Opper told Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello during Brooks’ preliminary hearing.

The day before, a vehicle collided at a Christmas parade, killing several people and injuring several others.
Six people were killed and several were injured after a vehicle collided at a Christmas parade.
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

“Not only the flight risk but the dangerousness that he presents, his history of violence and the allegations in this complaint where it is clearly stated that on several occasions he was asked to stop by police officers,” she said. “Everything was done to stop him, and he just went down the road, causing death and destruction along his way.”

Brooks was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional manslaughter, but Opper said he would be charged with a sixth after the death of the youngest victim, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, who was in critical condition after the assault.

Each homicide carries a potential sentence of life behind bars without parole.

“I am an old man who has been doing this for almost 40 years,” the commissioner of the court said during the hearing. “The nature of this crime is shocking … I have never seen anything like this in my very long career.”

Additional reporting by Dan Good

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