President Joe Biden will continue to receive updates after an SUV passes through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the White House has announced.
At least five people have died after a driver walked through barricades and punched people in the parade, the town of Waukesha said on its social media accounts. Police said a “person of interest” was in custody, but no information about the person or a possible motive was released.
In a tweet Monday morning, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president had been briefed on the “tragic situation”.
“@POTUS was briefed on the tragic situation in Waukesha last night and will receive regular updates,” she wrote. “Our team is in close contact with the local authorities to offer all the support and assistance needed. Our hearts are with the families and the whole community.”
Early Monday, the town of Waukesha confirmed that five people had died and more than 40 were injured. “However, those numbers may change as we collect more information,” officials said in the post. “A lot of people have self-transported to hospitals in the area.”
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has confirmed that a major investigation is underway with help from the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
“The DOJ is assisting in the response to this incident and will provide all resources necessary to assist with the investigation as it progresses,” Kaul tweeted. “What happened in Waukesha today is sickening, and I have every confidence that those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly said the town had “experienced a horrible, senseless tragedy”.
“I was on the parade early on,” Reilly said at a Sunday night press conference. “I saw the happy children sitting on the sidewalk. I have seen happy parents behind their children. I can still see the smiling faces. A parade is a celebration for our community.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers tweeted: “Kathy and I pray for Waukesha tonight and for all the children, families and community members affected by this senseless act. I am grateful to the first responders and the people who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information. “
School was canceled for most Waukesha students on Monday. James Sebert, the superintendent of the Waukesha school district, said he and his colleagues were working with police to “fully understand all the tragic details” of the incident.
UPDATE 11/22/21 at 7:20 a.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.