More than 20 people were injured, and some killed, when a car sped into a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, Sunday, police said.
At 4:39 p.m. local time, a red SUV drove into the town’s Christmas parade, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said at a press conference Sunday evening.
“There were some fatalities,” he said. The exact number will not be released yet.
Officials are working to identify the victims and notify their next of kin.
“We are deeply saddened by today’s senseless tragedy and our hearts are with the Waukesha community. We are currently treating 13 patients – 3 are in critical condition, 4 in serious condition, 6 in fair condition. We are praying for all those impacted, their families and our first responders,” the Aurora Medical Center said in a statement.
Waukesha Fire Department Chief Steven Howard said at a press conference that the fire department was marching in the parade when they heard of the incident — 12 fire departments ended up assisting.
The police department has since recovered a vehicle allegedly associated with the incident and a person of interest is in custody, Thompson added.
Thompson said an officer, who has been with the department for 6-and-a-half years, did discharge their weapon in order to stop the vehicle; no bystanders were hit.
“The FBI Milwaukee field office is aware of the reporting of an incident in Waukesha. The local and state authorities are leading the response,” an FBI spokesperson told ABC News.
A total of 11 adults and 12 children were transported to six hospitals hospitals via ambulances, police officers and family members, Thompson said.
“Children’s Wisconsin immediately prepared for a surge of patients after receiving notification from law enforcement of the incident at the Waukesha Christmas Parade,” Children’s Wisconsin tweeted. “As of 8 p.m., Children’s Wisconsin received 15 patients, with no reported fatalities at our hospital at that time.”
The Waukesha Police Department sent an emergency alert Sunday night saying: “If you are within a 1/2 mile radius of the 5 points downtown, shelter in place now. Wait for an all clear message.” The shelter in place order was listed about an hour later.
As of Sunday night, the scene was marked secure, Thompson said.
Still, roads in the area will be closed for the next 24 hours at least, Thompson said, and public schools will be closed Monday.
“Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act,” Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wrote on Twitter. “I’m grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly
A White House official told ABC News: “The White House is closely monitoring the situation in Waukesha and our hearts go out to everyone who has been impacted by this terrible incident. We have reached out to state and local officials to offer any support and assistance as needed.”
“Please pray for our community tonight after the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade,” Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow wrote on Twitter. “I had just finished participating in the parade with my wife when I noticed police sirens. Shortly afterward, I learned that a vehicle drove through the parade route injuring many people… This is an unspeakable tragedy, affecting us all as we work to overcome an extremely challenging two years and resume our cherished holiday traditions. Keep the families affected in your thoughts as we work to offer whatever support we can.”
The investigation is ongoing. It’s unclear at this time if the incident was tied to terrorism.
“Our prayers are with the people who have been injured and killed during the tragic incident in Waukesha,” Sandra Peterson, communications director of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said in a statement. “Among the injured are one of our Catholic priests, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children. Please join us in prayer for all those involved, their families, and those who are traumatized from witnessing the horrible scene.”