A 39-year-old man has been arrested in Union City after plowing through a Christmas parade crowd and killing six people. Darrell E. Brooks killed five adults and an 8-year-old boy and also injured more than 60 people when he drove his SUV through the crowd in Waukesha recently.
He has been charged with five counts of intentional homicide, and prosecutors said he might be charged for more.
Brooks was arrested by the police in County Hearth Inn & Suites when he was involved in a fight with his girlfriend. Customers at the inn witnessed Brooks hitting his girlfriend against the wall during an argument, and he called the police on a man who intervened to condemn him for hitting the woman.
When the police arrived, they found that Brooks was in the wrong and arrested him after finding that his girlfriend had several injuries that indicated prolonged domestic abuse. He was booked into the East Point Jail where he waits to be arraigned.
Experts and advocates against domestic violence said they are not surprised that Brooks went on to drive into a crowd, given that he was an unrepentant woman-beater. They said people who are given to domestic violence often graduate to engaging in mass shootings – which is not much different from plowing a car into a crowd of people.
Investigators found that earlier in November, Brooks drove his car over a woman during a family dispute, and the woman was eventually hospitalized. There were tire marks on the woman’s clothes, and she said she was afraid he wanted to kill her. Brooks was released after posting a $1,000 bail on November 16, but he went on to mow down the parade crowd on November 21.
“It’s the same dynamic,” said Sara Krall, director for End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin’s homicide prevention program, “and clearly this perpetrator had shown previously that his vehicle was being used to perpetrate harm against his partner, still a weapon.”
Psychologists said domestic abusers frequently transfer their aggression to others moments after they engage in a dispute with someone else. They are emboldened or mad at the aggression they have just unleashed at home, and they go on to extend the violence to others who are just in the path of their destruction.
“When I see violent crimes, one of the first things I look for is, I look to see if there is a history of domestic violence,” said Shawn Muhammad, associate director of The Asha Project in Milwaukee. “Because there’s always intersectionality between domestic violence and homicides and other crimes. So I’m not shocked, I’m not surprised at all.”