A woman smiled wide and was dressed warmly, ready to take part in her first Milwaukee Dancing Grannies parade on November 21, 2021.
Tamara Durand wrote she was “so excited” for her parade debut with the group, she said in a Facebook post.
Durand was one of six people killed after a red SUV sped into Waukesha’s Christmas parade that Sunday afternoon. More than 60 people were injured, 18 of whom were children.
The city of Waukesha confirmed the names of five victims as Virginia Sorenson, 79; Leanna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.
The sixth victim was identified as Jackson Sparks, 8, according to his family’s GoFundMe page. “This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” an update posted to the page said days after the attack.
At least 16 children were admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Two were released that Monday, the hospital said in a statement, and three were released that Wednesday.
Prosecutors formally charged Darrell Brooks with six counts of first-degree intentional homicide.
Brooks was found guilty Wednesday on six counts of first degree intentional homicide with the use of a dangerous weapon for driving his SUV through a crowd of Christmas parade attendees in Waukesha last November.
He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for the convictions.
Brooks was also convicted of 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon, six counts of fatal hit and run, two counts of felony bail jumping and one count of misdemeanor domestic battery.
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies: Virginia Sorenson, Leanna Owen, Tamara Durand
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies shared an update two days after the parade, posting photos of three of the members who died.
“Our hearts are heavy over the loss of our grannies and volunteer. Our injured grannies are in stable condition with one being released from the hospital Monday,” the group wrote on Facebook.
The group posted photos of Sorenson, Owen and Durand.
“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies,” according to the group’s statement on November 22.
Sorenson went by the nickname Ginny.
A GoFundMe page was created by the family and talked about how Sorenson spent her last moments celebrating the beauty of life and how she had a true passion for the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies.
“Everyone who knew Ginny knows she had a special soul, one that radiated with love,” a statement on the page read. “She was a caregiver through and through, whether caring for patients, family, and especially in caring for her beloved furry friends.”
Her granddaughter, Gabrielle Kamentz, remembered her grandmother for all she taught her.
“My grandmother taught me everything I needed to know in life… so happy and proud to be following in her footsteps as a nurse,” Kamentz said in a Facebook post.
Another one of the members was Leanna (Lee) Owen, a mother of two and grandmother of three.
“She was kind, loving and lit up every room she was in,” her son, Chris Owen, told CNN. He was at the parade watching both his mother and daughter participate.
“We saw a car go speeding around the corner, but we had no idea what was actually happening,” Chris Owen said. “The longer we didn’t hear from her, we figured she had been hit.”
Owen said his mother was a part of the Dancing Grannies for 12 years and loved every minute of it, noting that she never missed a practice.
Lee was a manager at Packard Glen Apartments in suburban Milwaukee for almost 10 years, property owner Dave Schmidt told CNN. “She loved that job, she dealt with people all day, but she was good at it.” Owen said: “The tenants loved her; management loved her.”
Staff at the complex posted a statement for residents informing them of her death. “This was one of her passions that she truly loved,” the statement said. “She was so proud to be part of this group and lit up when she talked about it.”
Durand, 52, was a more recent member of the dance group. Best Version Media shared a statement about the death of Tamara Durand, the wife of the executive chairman and founder, Dave Durand.
“We are devastated by the tragedy that unfolded Sunday evening in Waukesha,” the statement read. “It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Tammy Durand, wife of our Executive Chairman Dave Durand. Tammy was an integral part of our family who will be missed dearly by everyone at BVM.”
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies did not mention how many members of the group were affected or injured in the incident.
The group said their members were “devasted (sic) by this terrible tradegy (sic) with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade.”
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”
Jane Kulich, 52
Milwaukee native Jane Kulich, 52, was representing her employer, Citizens Bank, in the parade when she was struck and killed, according to her daughter Taylor Smith.
Smith told CNN that some of Kulich’s organs will be donated. “That’s my mom. Giving still, even when there’s nothing left to give. I’m so proud of her,” Smith told CNN.
“My mom was always helping people. I’m honored to be the daughter of someone who brought so much to everyone’s lives. Even in this darkness, she’s still shines some light for us.”
Kulich is survived by her husband, three children and three grandchildren.
“She loved her family so much,” Smith said in the statement. “She was dedicated, motivated, and comforting. My mom was just such a wonderful human that positively impacted everyone she met.”
Kulich joined Citizens Bank one year prior, her employer said in a statement on Facebook. “In that time, she shared her bright spirit with everyone around her,” the statement read.
The family started a GoFundMe page to help pay for Kulich’s funeral costs.
Jackson and Tucker Sparks
A family member said on the GoFundMe page that Jackson and his brother Tucker, 12, were struck during the parade.
Tucker, who sustained a fractured skull, according to the post, was “miraculously recovering from his injuries” and will be discharged home.
However, Jackson died November 23, 2021, after brain surgery two days earlier, it said.
Young dancer Jessalyn Torres was injured
Ryan Kohnke attended the parade with his two daughters to see his 11-year-old niece Jessalyn Torres dance. But Kohnke compared what he saw to his days of combat service in Iraq, calling it “a war zone.”
Jessalyn, known to her family as Jessa, was one of the dozens who were hit. She was participating in the parade with the Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team, which her uncle said she loves being a part of.
Kohnke recalled the moment when he saw the SUV plow through the crowd and told CNN, “It didn’t sink in at first for a lot of people, then all of a sudden it got real, and people started dispersing.”
He said there were people down everywhere, with many screaming and trying to help.
When he located his sister, Jessa’s mom, in the crowd she was on the ground next to the girl, coming to her aid.
Kohnke rushed to get his children, along with his other nieces, out of the chaotic scene and to safety. He ran blocks to his mother’s house to drop them off and went to find out which hospital Jessalyn had been taken to.
Jessalyn was admitted to the intensive care unit with several internal injuries, he said.
A friend of the family created a GoFundMe page to help the family with medical expenses.
“Sunday was a traumatic nightmare for the children, their families, and our entire community,” Waukesha Xtreme Dance Team said in a statement on November 23, 2021. “Our dancers have a multitude of serious physical injuries, of those, five dancers are currently in the ICU.”
According to the team’s GoFundMe page, the injured dancers were a part of the group’s mini or elite team.
CNN’s Kay Jones, Raja Razek, Caroll Alvarado and Sara Smart contributed to this report.