The suspect in the Wisconsin parade tragedy was out on bond after allegedly running over a woman earlier this month
Ralph Ellis, Kay Jones, Holly Yan and Paul P. Murphy, CNN
(CNN) — The man accused of careening his SUV into a Wisconsin parade, killing six people and injuring more than 60 others, was a registered sex offender in Nevada and had an active arrest warrant in that state, court records show.
He was also released on bond this month after allegedly running over a woman who said she’s the mother of his child earlier this month, according to court documents.
Darrell E. Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, is the lone suspect in Sunday’s parade tragedy, Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said.
Brooks was charged Tuesday with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the parade incident, court documents show. Prosecutors said they will consider a sixth homicide charge after saying in court that a child had died.
The judge set bail at $5 million, saying he believes Brooks is a flight risk.
Some are wondering why Brooks was released on $1,000 bond after allegedly running over a woman on November 2 — an amount the district attorney’s office now calls “inappropriately low.”
What allegedly happened November 2
Brooks is accused of running over the woman with his car while she was walking through a gas station parking lot, according to a criminal complaint.
The woman told authorities she was the mother of his child, according to the criminal complaint.
“Officers observed tire tracks on her left pants leg,” the criminal complaint read.
Prosecutors filed five charges related to the incident including: obstructing an officer; second-degree recklessly endangering safety with domestic abuse assessments; disorderly conduct with domestic abuse assessments; and misdemeanor battery with domestic abuse assessments.
Brooks was also charged with bail jumping because he was already out on bail following an incident from July 24, 2020, according to court documents.
The Milwaukee County district attorney’s office now says it should not have recommended such a low bail for Brooks and have launched an internal review into the decision.
“The State’s bail recommendation in this case was inappropriately low in light of the nature of the recent charges and the pending charges against Mr. Brooks,” the office said in a statement.
“The bail recommendation in this case is not consistent with the approach of the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office toward matters involving violent crime, nor was it consistent with the risk assessment of the defendant prior to setting of bail.”
CNN reached out to Brooks’ attorney from the 2020 and earlier November 2021 incident about the DA statement, but has not yet received a response.
The suspect is also a registered sex offender
Questions about why Brooks was released on $1,000 bond came as news emerged about his criminal record in Nevada.
Brooks pleaded guilty to statutory sexual seduction in November 2006, according to court and inmate records.
Additional details about the case were not immediately available. CNN has been unable to identify Brooks’ lawyer for this case.
According to the inmate records, Brooks served his sentence in the Northern Nevada Correctional Center from March 2007 to September 2008.
The Nevada sex offender registry shows Brooks is a registered sex offender in that state.
Brooks also has an outstanding arrest warrant in Nevada in an unrelated case for which he was arrested and jumped bail, authorities said.
The warrant was issued on August 15, 2016, for jumping bail, said Sarah Johns, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.
Johns said detectives later determined Brooks was in Wisconsin. “However, detectives did not have viable intelligence on Brooks’ exact location.”
CNN has reached out to a previous attorney for Brooks, but has not received a response.
Bail was reduced from $10,000 to $500 after another incident
In the 2020 incident, Brooks is accused of firing a handgun during an argument, according to a charging complaint.
While arresting Brooks, authorities say they found a stolen handgun and three “multicolored pills,” which later tested “presumptively positive” for methamphetamines.
Brooks was charged with two counts of second-degree reckless endangering safety while using a dangerous weapon and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Bail had initially been set at $10,000 in that case but because Brooks had asked for a speedy jury trial, which could not be met, bail was reduced to $500. Brooks was released on bail in that case on February 21, according to the district attorney’s office.
What led up to the Waukesha tragedy
Brooks was involved in a domestic disturbance earlier Sunday and left the scene just prior to driving his SUV through the parade, the police chief said.
Officers tried to top Brooks as he approached the parade in his SUV, but Brooks allegedly drove through barricades.
“When the suspect was driving through and into the crowd, one officer did discharge his firearm and fire shots at the suspect to stop the threat but due to the amount of people, had to stop, stop and fire — not fire any other additional shots,” Thompson said.
Brooks was not injured.
Brooks went in a stranger’s home for help
After the parade tragedy, Brooks was seen on a Ring doorbell video asking a Waukesha resident for help.
Daniel Rider, 24, told CNN he was in his recliner watching football on Sunday, unaware of what happened at the parade.
He said a man — later identified as Brooks — rang his doorbell and asked to use his phone to call an Uber, saying he was homeless.
Rider’s family had recently told him about a sermon calling on everyone to help the homeless. So he invited Brooks in, made him a sandwich and let him use his phone.
Rider said Brooks smelled of marijuana, but he didn’t feel threatened by the man in his home.
When he saw police going up and down his street, he had a feeling it was related to Brooks. So he asked Brooks to leave, and he did.
Brooks then returned, claiming his ID was left in the house, but Rider wouldn’t open the door.
Police told Brooks to put up his hands and arrested him in front of Rider’s home.
“Uber showed up maybe a minute after he was in custody,” Rider said. “So I just think about sometimes if he’d gotten in that car, what could have happened?”