Gov. Evers orders flags to half-staff for anniversary of Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy

MADISON, Wis. — Flags across Wisconsin will be flown at half-staff on Monday in remembrance of last year’s Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy following an order from Gov. Tony Evers.

Monday will mark the one-year anniversary of the incident, which left six people dead and dozens of others injured and traumatized.

“As Monday marks the one-year anniversary of the senseless, violent attack at the 2021 Waukesha Christmas Parade, Kathy and I are thinking of the entire Waukesha community, the six people whose lives were mercilessly taken, and all of the loved ones, friends, first responders, and neighbors for whom this anniversary will be especially difficult and traumatic,” Gov. Evers said in a release announcing the flag-lowering order.

The governor said the anniversary is also a chance to remember and honor the bravery of the first responders who rushed in to help on that day.

“As we remember this tragic event, we also reflect on the first responders, community leaders, and neighbors who ran toward danger to help, every person who responded in the days and months that followed with kindness, empathy, and compassion, and the extraordinary faith, strength, and resilience the Waukesha community has shown over the last year,” Gov. Evers said.

The victims killed in the tragedy were 52-year-old Tamara Durand, 81-year-old Wilhelm “Bill” Hospel, 52-year-old Jane Kulich, 71-year-old Leanna Owen, 79-year-old Virginia Sorensen, and 8-year-old Jackson Sparks.

“Our community has been and will be defined by our unity in support of those who lost loved ones, support of those who endured physical injuries, and support of those who suffered emotional trauma,” Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said in a joint statement Friday. “We begin another chapter in our journey as a community in providing support for those who need healing and finding peace.”

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Reilly mentioned during a press conference on Thursday that plans are underway for a permanent memorial for the victims of the tragedy.

Darrell Brooks was convicted of six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and dozens of other counts for the injuries caused when he drove an SUV into the parade crowd, and earlier this week was given six consecutive life sentences without the possibility of early release.