MILWAUKEE — The person who turned a quaint, small city Christmas parade right into a blood-soaked nightmare that left six lifeless and over 60 injured is a profession felony who’s spent greater than half of his life trapped in a revolving door of incarceration, drug abuse and violence.
Darrell Brooks, 39, allegedly used a purple Ford Escape to plow by way of revelers at an annual Christmas celebration in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, however his lifetime of crime began 22 years in the past when he was simply 17 years previous.
Over the following twenty years, Brooks would proceed to wreak havoc throughout three states as he racked up convictions for abusing his companions, raping and impregnating an adolescent and a constant streak of different violent crimes.
A assessment of his historical past — patched collectively from court docket paperwork, felony information, interviews and public information — reveals that each one alongside the best way, not a single social security internet caught him, till it was too late.
The cycle of tragedy
Brooks was simply 11 years previous when he was identified with bipolar dysfunction and despair whereas rising up within the inner-city of Milwaukee with out his father, court docket information present.
He was admitted to a psychological hospital at 12 and tried suicide quite a few occasions in his early years after shedding his grandmother and watching his father abuse his mother, papers say.
“I didn’t have a father rising up, so my mother was caught elevating me and my older sister. We have been on welfare for many of my childhood,” Brooks wrote in a 2007 letter to a decide.
“My father was an alcoholic who was very abusive to my mother. My father’s dad was additionally an alcoholic,” he wrote. “I grew up within the inner-city full of medicine and prostitution.”
Brooks claimed within the letter that his mom, a Christian girl with Southern roots, steered him away from bother on the streets however regardless of her greatest efforts, Brooks would go on to comply with in his father’s footsteps.
He finally turned an addict, a ordinary home abuser vulnerable to violence and threats — and used a car as a weapon on quite a few events, authorities stated.
Brooks lamented to the decide in his 2007 letter that he knew what it was like “to have your personal flesh and blood stroll out on you” and claimed he simply needed to offer his children what he by no means had: “a father.”
However by then, Brooks had already deserted his firstborn son earlier than the kid was 3 months previous.
“He disappeared,” the child’s mom informed The Submit throughout a current interview. “I’ve carried out all of this alone, raised my little one on my own.”
The girl initiated a paternity case in Waukesha County for failure to pay little one help that’s nonetheless ongoing to today.
A lifetime of crime
A 12 months after Brooks was charged together with his first felony in 1999 at age 17 for substantial battery intending bodily hurt, he was given three years of probation. However he quickly discovered himself snarled within the regulation as soon as once more, being hit with misdemeanor fees in 2002 and 2003 over separate incidents.
In 2005, he moved to Reno, Nevada, in a bid for a contemporary begin however inside a 12 months, he was charged with statutory sexual seduction and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he raped and impregnated a teen woman who he claims informed him she was 18 on the time.
He settled the case by pleading responsible however was ordered to not contact the sufferer — a requirement he repeatedly violated by calling the teenager utilizing a stolen telephone card and confronting her at a bus cease, touchdown him again in jail the place he served simply 129 days, information present.
Because of that conviction, Brooks was compelled to register as a intercourse offender within the state and through his time behind bars, he participated in a 2007 documentary referred to as “Crystal Darkness.”
He informed filmmaker Logan Needham about his struggles with methamphetamines and his failures as a father.
“I assumed I’d be this excellent father, the best dad ever … I’m going to offer him every little thing that I didn’t have. Then it’s like, actuality setting in. You really develop into the drug,” Brooks stated within the movie of his habit.
Needham informed The Submit he recalled Brooks “appeared very real” in his want to show his life round.
“We interviewed individuals who killed and different actually dangerous stuff, and now they have been reaping the implications from that,” Needham stated this week. “It was at all times very unhappy. However with [Brooks], I felt like he positively had regret. And I believe he felt dangerous concerning the choices he had made to land him the place he was.”
Needham stated over time, he would generally get updates on the inmates he interviewed, however he misplaced monitor of Brooks and stated he was shocked to listen to he was the suspect linked to the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy.
Between 2009 and 2011, Brooks was out and in of jail for a collection of crimes, together with resisting or obstructing an officer, strangulation and suffocation.
Throughout a 2011 bust, he was charged with proscribing or obstructing an officer for a second time after he was pulled over for not sporting a seatbelt.
“Throughout a visitors cease, a Milwaukee police officer jumped inside Brooks’ automobile, fearing he was about to be run over,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported of the incident.
“As Brooks started to drive away whereas the officer was speaking to him, the officer acquired contained in the automobile and wrestled for management of the steering wheel.”
Ultimately, the officer stopped the automobile and eliminated the keys as Brooks ran off. He was later discovered hiding in a kids’s playhouse on the identical block and was taken into custody.
In 2016, Brooks was busted once more for failing to register as a intercourse offender and in July 2020, he fired a gun at his nephew throughout a battle over a cellphone.
Anaji Brooks informed police he acquired right into a pal’s automobile following the dispute and was driving away when his uncle “walked into the entrance yard with a gun and fired one shot at them,” leaving the person in concern of his security, court docket papers say.
Officers quickly discovered Brooks with a stolen Beretta 9mm handgun and a transparent plastic baggie with three multi-colored methamphetamine tablets inside, information present.
He was charged with two counts of second-degree recklessly endangering security and use of a harmful weapon and was ordered to keep away from his nephew and his mom.
In a sufferer influence assertion obtained by the Day by day Mail, the nephew wrote that the encounter “made me come to the conclusion that this man wasn’t household or kin to me.”
Brooks was going through 10 years behind bars for the crime — the heaviest sentence he confronted to date however when the court docket was unable to ensure him a speedy trial resulting from a backlog of circumstances and COVID-19-related delays, he was launched in February 2021 on a $500 bail.
From there, Brooks went to Georgia, the place he was arrested for misdemeanor battery with a designation of household violence a little bit over three months after he acquired out of jail, prosecutors stated in a Waukesha courtroom on Tuesday.
The ultimate straw
Following Brooks’ troubles in Georgia, he made his method again to Wisconsin, the place his penchant for violence bubbled up once more whereas he was staying on the American Inn motel in Milwaukee’s Lenox Heights neighborhood together with his ex-girlfriend.
Brooks allegedly accosted the girl and knocked her cellphone out of her hand after which went after her in his Ford Escape when she fled.
He caught up together with her at a BP gasoline station a few half mile from the motel and demanded she get in his automobile, court docket information allege. When she refused, he struck her within the face after which ran her over together with his automobile, leaving the girl with “swelling to her lip and dry blood on her face” and “tire tracks on her left pants leg,” police stated.
The ex-girlfriend later informed cops that Brooks had allegedly threatened to kill her on a number of events, had beforehand tried to choke her and was jealous and controlling, in accordance with police studies obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Brooks denied the allegations and recommended to police the girl made them up as a result of she was drunk.
He ended up being charged with recklessly endangering security, bail leaping, battery and disorderly conduct within the incident however was given an “inappropriately low” bail of $1,000, Milwaukee County District Lawyer John Chisholm later stated, leaving him free to wreak havoc on the Christmas parade about three weeks later.
Round 4:35 p.m. that Sunday, the Waukesha Police Division was alerted to a different home disturbance involving Brooks and the ex-girlfriend within the neighborhood of White Rock College.
However by the point cops may reply, it was too late.
As Brooks desperately drove away from the college, he barreled towards the Christmas parade, smashed by way of barricades and plowed by way of revelers and marchers celebrating the annual occasion with “no emotion on his face,” police stated. He left six folks lifeless — the youngest being 8-year-old Jackson Sparks — and dozens extra injured, many who’re nonetheless hospitalized.
“There will not be phrases to explain the danger that this defendant presents to our neighborhood,” prosecutor Susan Opper informed Waukesha County Courtroom Commissioner Kevin Costello throughout Brooks’ preliminary listening to.
“Not solely flight threat however the dangerousness that he presents, his historical past of violence and the allegations on this grievance the place it’s said plainly that on a number of events he was informed to cease by cops,” she stated. “All the things was carried out to get him to cease, and he simply merely continued down the roadway, inflicting demise and destruction in his path.”
Brooks was charged with 5 counts of first-degree intentional murder however Opper stated he might be hit with a sixth cost following the demise of the youngest sufferer, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, who had been in vital situation after the assault.
Every murder depend carries a possible sentence of life behind bars with out parole.
“I’m an previous man who has been doing this for nearly 40 years,” the court docket commissioner stated throughout the listening to. “The character of this offense is surprising … I’ve not seen something like this in my very lengthy profession.”
Extra reporting by Dan Good