MILWAUKEE — The man 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 pink Ford Escape to plow by way of revelers at an annual Christmas celebration in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, however his life of crime began 22 years in the past when he was simply 17 years previous.
Over the following 20 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 overview of his historical past — patched collectively from court docket paperwork, felony information, interviews and public information — reveals that every one alongside the way in which, not a single social security web caught him, till it was too late.
The cycle of tragedy
Brooks was simply 11 years previous when he was recognized 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 instances in his early years after shedding his grandmother and watching his father abuse his mother, papers say.
“I didn’t have a father growing up, so my mom was stuck raising me and my older sister. We were on welfare for most of my childhood,” Brooks wrote in a 2007 letter to a decide.
“My father was an alcoholic who was very abusive to my mom. My father’s dad was also an alcoholic,” he wrote. “I grew up in the inner-city full of drugs and prostitution.”
Brooks claimed within the letter that his mom, a Christian lady 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 ultimately turned an addict, a ordinary home abuser liable to violence and threats — and used a automobile as a weapon on quite a few events, authorities mentioned.
Brooks lamented to the decide in his 2007 letter that he knew what it was like “to have your own flesh and blood walk out on you” and claimed he simply wished to present his children what he by no means had: “a father.”
But by then, Brooks had already deserted his firstborn son before the kid was 3 months previous.
“He disappeared,” the child’s mom instructed The Post throughout a latest interview. “I’ve done all of this on my own, raised my child by myself.”
The lady initiated a paternity case in Waukesha County for failure to pay baby assist that’s nonetheless ongoing to this present day.
A life of crime
A 12 months after Brooks was charged along with his first felony in 1999 at age 17 for substantial battery intending bodily hurt, he was given three years of probation. But he quickly discovered himself tousled within the legislation 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 instructed 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 cellphone card and confronting her at a bus cease, touchdown him again in jail the place he served simply 129 days, information present.
As a end result 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 instructed filmmaker Logan Needham about his struggles with methamphetamines and his failures as a father.
“I thought I would be this wonderful father, the greatest dad ever … I’m going to give him everything that I didn’t have. Then it’s like, reality setting in. You actually become the drug,” Brooks mentioned within the movie of his habit.
Needham instructed The Post he recalled Brooks “seemed very genuine” in his want to show his life round.
“We interviewed people who killed and other really bad stuff, and now they were reaping the consequences from that,” Needham mentioned this week. “It was always very sad. But with [Brooks], I felt like he definitely had remorse. And I think he felt bad about the decisions he had made to land him where he was.”
Needham mentioned through the years, he would generally get updates on the inmates he interviewed, however he misplaced monitor of Brooks and mentioned 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.
During 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.
“During a traffic stop, a Milwaukee police officer jumped inside Brooks’ car, fearing he was about to be run over,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported of the incident.
“As Brooks began to drive away while the officer was talking to him, the officer got inside the car and wrestled for control of the steering wheel.”
Eventually, the officer stopped the automobile and eliminated the keys as Brooks ran off. He was later discovered hiding in a youngsters’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 combat over a cellphone.
Anaji Brooks instructed police he acquired right into a pal’s automobile following the dispute and was driving away when his uncle “walked into the front yard with a gun and fired one shot at them,” leaving the person in worry 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 drugs 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 affect assertion obtained by the Daily Mail, the nephew wrote that the encounter “made me come to the conclusion that this man wasn’t family or kin to me.”
Brooks was dealing with 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 on account of a backlog of instances 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 somewhat over three months after he acquired out of jail, prosecutors mentioned in a Waukesha courtroom on Tuesday.
The remaining straw
Following Brooks’ troubles in Georgia, he made his manner 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 along with his ex-girlfriend.
Brooks allegedly accosted the lady 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 along with his automobile, leaving the lady with “swelling to her lip and dry blood on her face” and “tire tracks on her left pants leg,” police mentioned.
The ex-girlfriend later instructed 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, based on police studies obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Brooks denied the allegations and prompt to police the lady 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 Attorney John Chisholm later mentioned, leaving him free to wreak havoc on the Christmas parade about three weeks later.
Around 4:35 p.m. that Sunday, the Waukesha Police Department was alerted to a different home disturbance involving Brooks and the ex-girlfriend within the neighborhood of White Rock School.
But by the point cops might reply, it was too late.
As Brooks desperately drove away from the varsity, 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 mentioned. He left six individuals lifeless — the youngest being 8-year-old Jackson Sparks — and dozens extra injured, many who’re nonetheless hospitalized.
“There are not words to describe the risk that this defendant presents to our community,” prosecutor Susan Opper instructed Waukesha County Court Commissioner Kevin Costello throughout Brooks’ preliminary listening to.
“Not only flight risk but the dangerousness that he presents, his history of violence and the allegations in this complaint where it is stated plainly that on several occasions he was told to stop by police officers,” she mentioned. “Everything was done to get him to stop, and he just simply continued down the roadway, causing death and destruction in his path.”
Brooks was charged with 5 counts of first-degree intentional murder however Opper mentioned he shall be hit with a sixth cost following the loss of life of the youngest sufferer, 8-year-old Jackson Sparks, who had been in essential situation after the attack.
Each murder depend carries a possible sentence of life behind bars with out parole.
“I’m an old guy who has been doing this for almost 40 years,” the court docket commissioner mentioned in the course of the listening to. “The nature of this offense is shocking … I’ve not seen anything like this in my very long career.”
Additional reporting by Dan Good