I thought to myself there was a really good turnout for the Christmas parade for a cold, windy Wisconsin day. There was a lot of good energy, people were really celebratory; there were really happy people who were really excited to go and get out in person.
As a candidate for Wisconsin state treasurer and an alderman for the nearby city of West Allis, I was marching with the Waukesha County Democrats in the Christmas parade on Sunday. I was with my campaign manager, Austin Kieler, as well as my mom, my brother, my sister and my sister’s boyfriend.
We were waving at folks, smiling and greeting people.
We finished the parade route and Austin, my family and I decided to go back to the parade on Main Street to see the rest of the marchers and performers. We wanted to grab some food and enjoy our evening. People were outside with their families; they had strollers, children; some of them had their dogs with them.
The last thing I remember hearing was the band playing music. As we were walking back to Main Street, I saw an SUV speeding down the parade route. I heard the motorist revving the engine. It sounded like the person was putting the pedal to the metal.
Then I heard a loud bang. I heard deafening cries and screams from people in the area. People started leaving the scene, leaving behind their items, their food, their drinks and they started running away. It was truly horrifying. It was very scary.
Nobody knew what just happened, whether it was an accident or a deliberate attack on the parade. People were sobbing. People were screaming and yelling as they were looking for their family and their friends.
When the crowd cleared out, that’s when I saw what looked like people lying on the ground lifeless. First responders very quickly came in. Police secured the area.
My family and I were all in shock. I got my family back to their car, then my campaign manager and I went back to our car. Thankfully, all of my family and friends are accounted for and safe.
The world here has been very heavy with the recent verdict in the Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the last thing we expected was a mass casualty event at the Christmas parade. I am deeply grateful for the first responders who showed up quickly to the scene. I hope for healing, strength and resilience.
My heart is with Waukesha, with the victims, the survivors and their families.
Angelito Tenorio is an alderman in West Allis, Wisconsin, and is running as a Democrat to be Wisconsin state treasurer.