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Hundreds gather at vigils for Waukesha Christmas parade victims

Waukesha vigil
Posted at 9:24 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 12:33:24-05

WAUKESHA, Wis.  — Little more than 24 hours after the Waukesha holiday parade, hundreds of people turned out to Cutler Park in downtown Waukesha on Monday evening.

Waukesha police say five people were killed and dozens of others were injured after a car sped through the parade Sunday afternoon.

"We're a tight community," said Madalynn Cotton. "We're here for each other no matter what."

"My daughter is over there in the blue jacket, she's six, and the stories I read," Katelyn Wichgers said. "It's hard because me being a mom, I don't want that to happen to my kid."

At Cutler Park, people held candles, prayed, and grieved with each other.

"When tragedy struck this city, the community responded," Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said at the vigil.

"I can't explain what happened or why," Cotton said. "But we're able to come together no matter what, and that's all that matters is the love we still have for each other."

At St. William Catholic Church, hundreds filled the pews as they prayed for a priest and fellow parishioners hurt in the parade.

"We're kind of in the middle, where we don't see the healing of it just yet," the church's pastor, Father Matthew Widder, said. "We know it's coming, and we embrace it, but at the same time, we're kind of in that middle where we're praying for people still in the hospital."

"The first thing is to just be with them," said Bishop James Schuerman.

Some are searching for solace in faith and the community's resilience.

"Now I'm thanking the Lord for the prayers that there's safe recovery, so that we don't lose anybody else," Wichgers said. "Just because that's what we do as our community, share that love and that support."

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