Darrell Brooks: Waukesha tragedy suspect punched ex-girlfriend before mowing down paradegoers
WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN: Darrell Brooks, who allegedly killed six people by driving his vehicle through a Christmas parade in Waukesha last year, was fleeing after punching his ex-girlfriend, Erica Patterson, a prosecutor said during opening statements. According to Assistant District Attorney Zachary Wittchow, Brooks “took the coward’s way out” when he realized police would definitely get involved.
Brooks drove his SUV through a Christmas Parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, killing six people and injuring over 40. The SUV reportedly knocked down and injured several people including youngsters waving pompoms and a group of 'Dancing Grannies'. Brooks was later found by cops with the key to a Ford vehicle. He happens to be a career criminal and rapper who performs under the stage name MathBoi Fly.
Videos of the horrific incident, which are viral on social media, show a red Ford Escape smashing through white barricades before racing down the road toward a high school marching band. The car drove right through the parade as screams filled the air, running over people and driving away as the crowd scattered.
In opening statements on Thursday, October 6, Wittchow told jurors that Brooks had a “violent domestic argument” with Erica Patterson, with whom he shares a child, on November 21, 2021. Patterson was reportedly staying at a women’s center where Brooks showed up in his red Ford Escape SUV, argued with her, harassed her, and punched her in the face. He took her all over town that afternoon. “The thing about a swollen eye is it’s tough to fake,” Wittchow said.
The 40-year-old recently walked back his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Law&Crime reported. He was thrown out of court on multiple occasions by judge Jennifer Dorow for being disruptive for the purpose of delaying the trial. During the trial, Brooks was seen laughing when Kori Runkel, a friend of his ex-girlfriend Erica Patterson, testified that he had threatened to kill Patterson. After being assaulted, Patterson called her friends for help, the prosecutor said. At some point, her roommate at the women’s center, Runkel, responded.
Brooks is facing multiple charges, including first-degree intentional homicide charges for killing six people. The victims of the tragedy were Jackson Sparks, 8, Tamara Durand, 52, Jane Kulich, 52, Leanna “Lee” Owen, 71, Virginia Sorenson, 79, and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
Runkel identifies this picture of Erica Patterson. This is how she looked the night of Nov. 21st after the #WaukeshaParade. Patterson is the mother of Brooks' child. They were fighting the day of the parade. #DarrellBrooks pic.twitter.com/hz3j4sCc1Z— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) October 6, 2022
Brooks has been representing himself since last week and has avoided discussing himself in the first person. While cross-examining Runkel on Thursday, Brooks suggested she could not have known it was him in the car because she had never before seen the “boyfriend” and did not know what car he drove. Runkel replied saying she knew who it was because Patterson told her about meeting 'Darrell Brooks'.
Instead of Patterson herself, Runken arrived to meet Brooks in front of the White Rocks School. She allegedly got into a physical and verbal altercation with Brooks, Wittchow said. When police were called, Brooks realized things would be going against him. “So he took the coward’s way out,” the prosecutor said. Brooks then drove off and the parade tragedy followed. The suspect is saving his opening statement for after the state rests its case.