State and local leaders in disbelief after Waukesha parade tragedy

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Reaction from state and local leaders continues to pour in a day after someone drove an SUV into people participating in Waukesha's Christmas parade, leaving five dead and many more injured.

Representative Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05) ,who represents Waukesha, is in disbelief over the chaos and tragedy that occurred Sunday. The congressman, who's marched on the same parade route on previous occasions, visited Waukesha on Monday and said it's been difficult to process what occurred.

"I know these people because I've been doing parades for 27 years," Fitzgerald tells CBS 58. "You get to know these people, and to have this happen right in your backyard, it's just unbelievable."

Governor Tony Evers signed an executive order for flags to be flown at half-staff for the Waukesha community. In a tweet, Evers encouraged Wisconsinites to stay strong.

"In Wisconsin, when we face some of our darkest days and most difficult struggles, we find strength in our communities and in the compassion, empathy, and respect we show one another. Every day—but especially today—please be kind. Be patient. Take good care of each other," Evers said in his post.

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow marched in the parade, but left before the tragic event unfolded. He's thanking those who stepped up to help those in need after the suspect, 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, plowed through the parade route in his SUV killing five people and injuring 48.

"The resilience of this community and the people willing to step up and help each other out was phenomenal," Farrow said. "I think that's what's going to get us through this, we have a strength in this community that will embrace one another."

State Rep. Scott Allen (R-Waukesha) is calling on community members to turn a light on at 4 p.m. out of respect of the lives lost and to "let it shine through the night until daybreak."

"We have to show that love to one another, we need to work through this together and I think it's important we begin that process," Allen said.

The Waukesha Republican said he was at the parade and about two blocks away when he heard gunshots ring out from police who were trying to capture the suspect.

"I heard the gunshots and it was surprising, but we couldn't tell what was going on," said Scott. "I feel terrible for all those that had to go through it and the trauma that everyone experienced when it all unfolded."

President Joe Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki said the president has been briefed on the tragic situation in Waukesha and is "in close touch with local officials to offer any support and assistance needed."


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