WAUKESHA, Wis. – Darrell Brooks’ mother broke her silence Wednesday in a letter to the media, blaming last month’s Christmas parade tragedy on a lack of mental health services for her son, according to a press report.
Brooks was living with his 62-year-old mom when authorities say he plowed his red Ford Escape into an annual Christmas parade Nov. 21, killing six people and injuring more than 60, according to court records.
“We are not making excuses, but we believe what has happened is because he was not given the help and resources he needed,” Woods wrote in the letter, WDJT-TV of Milwaukee reported.
Brooks, 39, suffered from mental illness and was on medication since he was child, according to the letter and court papers.
“Institutions that are equipped and have trained staff is what was needed as well as resources in the communities where people who suffer with mental illness live,” the letter says. “Jail is not the answer, because they get released back in society sicker than what they were when they entered. We all see what a tragedy that can turn out to be.”
Her son, a career criminal, has a sprawling rap sheet with more than two dozen arrests spanning Georgia, Wisconsin and Nevada.
In a widely criticized move, a junior Milwaukee prosecutor requested $1,000 cash bail after Brooks was busted for allegedly running over his ex-girlfriend with his SUV, leaving a tire mark on her left leg. Dawn Woods posted her son’s bail on Nov. 5, and 16 days later he allegedly used the same vehicle to commit the horrific attack on holiday revelers.
Milwaukee District Attorney John Chisholm called the bail “inappropriately low” and launched an internal investigation into the decision.
“We as a society must take mental illness seriously by fixing a broken system or suffer the consequences, sad as it is to say what happened in Waukesha will keep happening all over this country, in one form or another with more innocent lives lost and grieving families and communities,” Dawn Brooks wrote.
Brooks’ mom offered her condolences to the victims and the Waukesha community.
“What was meant to be a joyous day became a day of tragedy and heartache — a day that we wish with all our heart would have never happened,” the letter says.
She added that Brooks came from a “loving Christian family” and is the grandson of ministers.
The trouble began when as an adult it was determined that he no longer suffered from mental illness and his treatment was terminated, according to Woods.
“Instead of offering help and resources to combat the problem, a jail cell was given over and over again,” she wrote.