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Uncle recalls moment he saw his 11-year-old niece get struck at Waukesha Christmas parade

Jessalyn
Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 22, 2021

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Nearly 50 people were injured on Sunday after an SUV drove through a crowd of people during the Waukesha Christmas parade. One of them, an 11-year-old girl, was part of a dance troupe.

Ryan Kohnke says he did combat service in Iraq. After witnessing the chaos at the Waukesha Christmas parade, he said it was comparable to his time at war.

"This was very similar and it was the first thing it reminded me of, just seeing all those bodies," Kohnke said.

However, this time, Kohnke was in the middle of a holiday parade with his family, including his 11-year-old niece Jessalyn.

"I knew my sister and her family are a part of the Waukesha XTreme Dance Team. They had just passed us a few minutes prior," Kohnke said.

Moments later, chaos as police say 39-year-old Darrell Brooks drove into the crowd.

"He hesitated for a moment. Only a moment then he just gunned it from here," Kohnke said.

Jessalyn was one of dozens hit. She is now in the ICU, suffering serious internal injuries. Kohnke said he remembers the moment he saw his niece after running into the crowd.

"She was laying in the middle of five corners, downtown Waukesha," he said. "That's where I seen her. Unfortunately my children were with me and they seen it too."

He said he hopes all victims recover and is hopeful to see his niece dancing again.

"She loves everybody in her dance group," Kohnke said. "Its just really hard to see all of this going on and hard to see someone in my everyday life is now in this situation."

He says there is a GoFundMe page set up for medical expenses for his niece. If you want to help, you can click here.

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