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Waukesha parade victim’s uncle recalls massacre horror, wants culprit locked up for good


The uncle of an 11-year-old girl plowed down by an SUV during the Wisconsin Christmas parade massacre is sharing horrific details of the aftermath and says he hopes the career criminal charged in the ambush is jailed for life.

U.S. Army veteran Ryan Kohnke – whose niece Jessalyn Torres remains on a ventilator a week after the attack – said he wants Darrell Brooks Jr. properly punished for allegedly killing six people and wounding 62 others.

‘I hope he spends the rest of his jail in isolation,’ Kohnke told Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine. ‘I don’t think he’ll ever see general population because they’re afraid of what might happen to him.’

Kohnke said he was standing at the sidelines of the November 21 parade in Waukesha and watched helplessly as a red SUV broke through a safety barricade and barreled into the crowd. 

Jessalyn, who was participating in the parade with the Waukesha Xtreme Dance group, had just passed through and Kohnke’s thoughts soon turned to his family’s safety as a man in the SUV began mowing down the crowd.

‘After I [saw] that he continued down the parade route, I became very afraid for their lives,’ he said.

Her uncle, US Army veteran Ryan Kohnke  said he wants Darrell Brooks Jr. properly punished for the Christmas parade massacre, which killed six people and wounded 62 others

Jessalyn Torres, 11, pictured, one of nine kids injured in the November 21 crash, suffered a broken pelvis and femur, a fractured skull, lacerations to her lungs, and lost a kidney

He and his daughters raced to the aid of Jessalyn, who was accompanied by her sisters and mom.

‘My daughters, what they seen was indescribable,’ Kohnke said. ‘It was what you hear from veterans. There was bodies everywhere, there was clothes everywhere, everybody was screaming ‘oh my God,’ yelling for their children, yelling for their loved ones.’

Brooks, 39, was free on $1,000 bail when he allegedly careered into the parade November 21

Brooks, 39, was free on $1,000 bail when he allegedly careered into the parade November 21

Brooks, 39, was free on $1,000 bail when he allegedly careered into the parade and was initially charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted.

He’s expected to face more charges after Jackson Sparks, an eight-year-old boy, succumbed to his injuries last week.

Kohnke was present during Brooks’ bail hearing last Tuesday, where bail was set at $5 million despite him already have been free on bail from a previous crime during the time of the parade carnage.

During the hearing, Kohnke said he felt ill while watching Brooks’ reaction to the charges.

‘It made me sick to my stomach,’ he said. 

‘To hear him start crying when the judge mentioned these [charges] carried a life sentence. to me it was selfish, that he was worried about himself.’

Pictured: Brooks in his red SUV as he plowed through the crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 21

Pictured: Brooks in his red SUV as he plowed through the crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 21

Pictured: Streets along the parade route remained closed to traffic November 22

Pictured: Streets along the parade route remained closed to traffic November 22

Kohnke attended Brooks' bail hearing last Tuesday at the Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and said said he felt ill while watching Brooks¿ reaction to the charges

Kohnke attended Brooks’ bail hearing last Tuesday at the Waukesha County Court in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and said said he felt ill while watching Brooks’ reaction to the charges

Jessalyn, one of nine kids injured in the November 21 crash, suffered a broken pelvis and femur, a fractured skull, lacerations to her lungs, and lost a kidney after being hit.

Torres’s mother, Amber Kohnke, told the New York Post that her daughter remains at the Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, where the anguished mom spent the Thanksgiving holiday beside her daughter in her hospital room.

‘No mother should ever go through this. This is a very traumatic ordeal,’ Kohnke, a mother of four, told the Post.

Jessalyn, one of nine kids injured in the November 21 crash, suffered a broken pelvis and femur, a fractured skull, lacerations to her lungs, and lost a kidney after being hit

Jessalyn, one of nine kids injured in the November 21 crash, suffered a broken pelvis and femur, a fractured skull, lacerations to her lungs, and lost a kidney after being hit

Torres, pictured center, was injured in the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre and is still clinging to life and on a ventilator nearly a week after Brooks drove into crowd of spectators

Torres, pictured center, was injured in the Waukesha Christmas Parade massacre and is still clinging to life and on a ventilator nearly a week after Brooks drove into crowd of spectators

‘The hardest part was not being with everyone and Jessalyn, in the condition she is, was not able to be with her family either,’ she said.

Jessalyn, who heartbreakingly told doctors to ‘glue her back together’ after being transported to the hospital, is among four children who remain in serious condition after the massacre, with three others in fair condition.

Although Jessalyn’s lungs are clearing, an X-ray showed the amount of trauma to the organs remains ‘very visible,’ her mom wrote Saturday on Facebook.

‘My poor child was literally hit by a truck dead on (she has the marks from the vehicles grill across her chest) and was thrown around 20-30 feet or so,’ she said. ‘My baby may be strong but there are times in our lives when we need to just sit back and heal. This is that time for her. 

‘Although she is back to being a sleeping body filled with tubes and a machine that is breathing for her, she is comfortable.’



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