ROME — Pope Francis sent a telegram Tuesday offering prayers and condolences to the victims of Sunday’s Christmas parade massacre in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
In a telegram addressed to Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki, the Vatican conveyed the pope’s “spiritual closeness to all affected by the tragic incident that recently took place in Waukesha.”
“He commends the souls of those who died to almighty God’s loving mercy and implores the divine gifts of healing and consolation upon the injured and bereaved,” the text reads. “He joins you in asking the lord to bestow upon everyone the spiritual strength which triumphs over violence and overcomes evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21).”
Darrell E. Brooks Jr. has been arrested after he allegedly plowed through crowds in his SUV at the annual Christmas parade in Waukesha on Sunday evening, killing five and injuring 48 more.
The 39-year-old Brooks is expected to be charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
Three of those killed were women who belonged to the “Dancing Grannies” group, a troupe that waved pompoms and marched through the parade with synchronized dance routines. The Milwaukee archdiocese also revealed that among the injured are one Catholic priest, as well as multiple parishioners and Waukesha Catholic school children.
Police said that Brooks’ criminal record dates back to 1999, when he was convicted of his first felony for aggravated battery, and since then he has been convicted on felony drug charges as well as obstructing an officer.
Nevada records reveal that Brooks is a registered sex offender after having been convicted in 2006 of statutory rape.
According to the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada Brooks impregnated a 15-year-old girl and was sentenced to probation but an active warrant had been issued for his noncompliance with sex offender laws.
Just weeks ago, Brooks was arrested in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, for allegedly running over a woman in a gas station parking lot following a fight between the two.
If convicted for Sunday’s Waukesha massacre, Brooks will face multiple mandatory life sentences.