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Residents and business owners told Granthshala News what they experienced when a vehicle plowed through a crowded Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing five people and injuring dozens of others.

“We first heard the noise when the vehicle may have hit the person,” said Norman Bruce, owner of a book and toy store along the parade route. “When I stood up, all I could see were some band members from [Waukesha] South [High School] lying in the street.”

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He told Granthshala News that once he saw the destruction outside he opened the doors of his shop to provide parade-goers with protection from the chaos.

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“I got up and went to the door and invited people in,” Bruce said. “We made sure everyone came here safely.”

Bruce, who owns the shop with his wife, said that one of the band’s injured members entered the store, where he was treated.

Bruce told Granthshala News, “The two men grabbed a band member who was hurt.” “He was bleeding from his head and [we] brought him inside. We got a chair and made it sit and they kept looking after it.”

Crystal, who lives above the Nice Ash Cigar Bar, where she also works as a bartender, said she also brings frightened onlookers to the bar.

Crystal lives above the Nice Ash Cigar Bar in downtown Waukesha

“I was watching the parade from my window,” she told Granthshala News. “I came down and went to the bar and just started bringing people into the bar and sheltering people inside to find their kids, to find their family.”

Crystal said he estimated the SUV was driving at about 40 mph and that the driver appeared to be “aiming at people and hitting them, and then driving at them.”

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A young man named Hayden, who said he had spent most of his life in Waukesha, told Granthshala News: “I had a lot of friends who were in Waukesha South bands that got hit. One of my best friends got hurt. Hurts, ribs hurt and everything. But I knew all the people who were injured.”

The parade route a day after the deadly attack

Guillermo, a Waukesha local who owns a costume shop in the city, said he did not attend the parade, but his family was there to take an unofficial kickoff during the Christmas season.

“I feel so bad, because my family was there,” he told Granthshala News. “Thank god they are fine, but the others in my family. They are in the hospital.”

Darrell Brooks was arrested and charged with multiple murders over the incident. Brooks, who has a long criminal history, was recently booked on felony charges, but was released earlier this month after posting $1,000 in cash bail.

A Waukesha local named Rick said the horrific incident was only possible because low bail had been set for the alleged perpetrator, Darrell Brooks.

“I think it was because of the low bail that it was possible for him [the suspect] A man named Rick, smoking a cigar inside the Nice Ash cigar bar, told Granthshala News, “It must be out here to do this.” “It would never have happened if he didn’t come out.”