Four of the five victims who were killed after a red SUV plowed into Christmas parade marchers and spectators in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday evening were members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies club.
Police released the names of the members on Monday. They were Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, Tamara Durand, 52, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Virginia Sorenson was one of the victims in the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.
A fifth person, Jane Kulich, 52, died, but she was not a member of the club.
Formed in 1984, the Dancing Grannies performs in about 25 parades each year from Memorial Day to Christmas, according to its website.
While performing, the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts
— Dancing Grannies of Milwaukee
Members practice once a week almost year-round. The organization says its members’ ages range from early 50s to mid 70s.
The only requirement for joining is to be a grandmother. There are approximately 100 grandchildren and even some great-grandchildren among its members, according to the organization’s website.
The club said it was “devastated” by the terrible tragedy.
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness,” the club said. “While performing, the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds’ cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.”
Countless other victims – including children – were injured in Sunday night’s attack. At least nine patients were listed in critical condition in two hospitals, and seven others were reported in serious condition.
Toppled chairs are seen among holiday decorations in downtown Waukesha, Wis., after an SUV plowed into a Christmas parade injuring dozens of people Sunday, Nov 21. 2021. ((AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps))
Eighteen children ages 3 to 16 were brought to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Drendel, medical director of the emergency department.
They suffered injuries ranging from scrapes on their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries, she said. Six were listed in critical condition.
Darrell Brooks, person of interest in Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade crash (Wisconsin Department of Justice)
Police identified the suspect who plowed through the crowd in a red SUV as 39-year-old Darrell Brooks Jr., of Milwaukee. They said he had left the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Police Chief Dan Thompson said. He was not being chased by police at the time of the crash.
The parade, held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade was the 59th one.
Waukesha is about 55 miles from Kenosha, where Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted Friday of all charges in the shooting deaths of two men and the wounding of a third during unrest there in 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.