Tears, shock, and pain abound as officials continue to piece together the tragic events that unfolded in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday evening, when a vehicle struck a Christmas parade, killing at least five and injuring more than 40 others.
In the midst of uncertainty, prayer is taking center stage as people process the devastating occurrence and officials urge caution in not jumping to definitive conclusions.
Attendees and witnesses have expressed the shock and horror they witnessed as a red SUV plowed through the beloved, annual Christmas event, striking both adults and children. A “person of interest” is in police custody.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims, the first responders and all their families in Waukesha, Wisconsin. “
— Ben & Candy Carson (@RealBenCarson) November 22, 2021
Waukesha school board member Corey Montiho, who was on site when the tragedy unfolded, offered a heart-breaking account to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“There were pom-poms and shoes and spilled hot chocolate everywhere. I had to go from one crumpled body to the other to find my daughter. My wife and two daughters were almost hit,” he said. “Please pray for everybody. Please pray. My family is safe but many are not. I held one little girl’s head in my hand, she was seizing and she was bleeding out of her ears. I held her mother as she collapsed. Please pray.”
It is that theme of prayer — a hope in the midst of the unimaginable — that has permeated much of the response.
In a tweet from the City of Waukesha sent early Monday morning, officials said the situation is “fluid” — and urged the community to come together and pray.
The scene is still fluid, and the investigation is ongoing. The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured. We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers.
— cityofwaukesha (@CityofWaukesha) November 22, 2021
“The scene is still fluid, and the investigation is ongoing. The community mourns the loss of our community members and those injured,” the tweet read. “We are asking for the community to come together during this time and to keep the families in your prayers.”
Gov. Tony Evers mirrored this sentiment, writing that he, too, is praying for Waukesha:
Kathy and I are praying for Waukesha tonight and all the kids, families, and community members affected by this senseless act. I'm grateful for the first responders and folks who acted quickly to help, and we are in contact with local partners as we await more information.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) November 22, 2021
Other officials also asked the public to offer invocations for those involved. Those tweeting this sentiment included: Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Milwaukee County Executive David C. Crowley:
Please pray for our community tonight after the horrific events at the Waukesha Christmas Parade.
— Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow (@WaukeshaCoExec) November 22, 2021
The horrific violence at the Waukesha Christmas Parade is just heartbreaking.
Please keep the victims in your prayers tonight.
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) November 22, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Waukesha community tonight in light of a seemingly senseless act of violence during the downtown Christmas parade. MCSO is currently on the scene assisting our neighboring county.
— David C. Crowley (@DavidCrowleyWI) November 22, 2021
Prominent faith leaders like Jentezen Franklin and Franklin Graham also mobilized social audiences to pray for the victims of this horrific tragedy.
Franklin reminded his followers to offer invocations for first responders and healthcare workers, among others:
Let’s keep Waukesha, Wisconsin in our prayers tonight. Pray for the families, first responders, healthcare workers and everyone affected by today’s terrible tragedy. pic.twitter.com/J8WHCj9TJQ
— Jentezen Franklin (@Jentezen) November 22, 2021
Pray for Waukesha, Wisconsin, this evening as multiple deaths and injuries are reported as a result of a vehicle plowing through the crowd gathered at their Christmas parade. https://t.co/yGOtlYYXIj
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) November 22, 2021
Here are some of the other prayerful reminders offered since news broke of the Waukesha incident:
My heart is broken for the community in Waukesha. I pray the surviving families and can find peace and kids are able to sleep tonight. Some parade attendees died and others are in terror. No words.
— Quince Mountain (@QuinceMountain) November 22, 2021
My thoughts and prayers with everyone involved in the horrific incident in Waukesha. Lord I pray you heal this world and help us to all find peace and happiness. This is not the way to go y’all. We have to be better as a whole
— D.L. Hall (@dl_hall33) November 22, 2021
Heavenly Father, tonight there is grieving and fear in #Waukesha. We see heartache there, and also in so many communities across America and around the world. We ask for your mercy, peace, and healing. Bless Your children with refreshing rest. Give us renewed hope we pray. pic.twitter.com/ZWXmtQ0E4b
— ProperGander Stephen Simpson (@BamaStephen) November 22, 2021
Please continue to come together and pray for the individuals, families and first responders coping with this horrific tragedy.
Pray for peace, for answers, for appropriate justice and for God’s hand on the many lives who will need guidance and hope in the coming days, weeks and months.
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