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An 11-year-old girl who was injured in the deadly rampage inflicted upon participants and spectators of a Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade asked doctors to “glue me back together,” according to a report.
Jessalyn Torres lost her kidney and suffered a broken pelvis, lacerations to her lungs and remaining kidney, as well as internal bleeding when Darrell Brooks allegedly plowed his Ford Explorer through the crowd Sunday in Waukesha, The Sun reported.
So far, five people have died and 48 have sustained injuries.
Torres was with her mom, Amber Kohnke, and her two-year-old sister, Averie, performing in the parade with the Waukesha Xtreme Dance group before being struck by the SUV, according to the outlet.
“Her mom and dad are with her now at the hospital. They will not be leaving her side,” Jessalyn’s uncle Ryan Kohnke told the Sun. “The rest of us are going to make sure the other kids are taken care of throughout this.” The injured girl has two other siblings who were not at the parade.
“Even when I spoke to her this morning on the phone, she said to me, ‘Tell them to just glue me back together,’” he said, laughing. “They decided to do the intubation after that to make her more stable.”
FACES OF THE PARADE: This is 11-year-old Jessalyn. She is in ICU right now with internal injuries. She was with #Waukesha Xtreme Dance when that SUV came crashing through.
AT 5: I speak to her uncle who rushed to help people, only to find his niece in the middle of the road. pic.twitter.com/vdYE2eYco6
— Tony Atkins (@TonyAtkinsTV) November 22, 2021
“I think she’s confused, she doesn’t really understand what happened. A lot of these kids are confused, they don’t know how to feel. They’re all going through this in their own way, and most of them saw it,” Kohnke told the Sun.
Her uncle described his niece as a “wonderful child.”
“Jessalyn loves to dance, she loves her team and her friends. She’s a stubborn, energetic, wonderful child, caring and adventurous,” Kohnke said. “She’s very into beauty and looking pretty for her contests, and has a huge personality. She’s very individual.”
Kohnke was in attendance with his two children, and he related the horrifying scene to the outlet.
“After I watched the guy barrel through, police trying to stop him, I knew my family was down there,” Kohnke said, adding that he called Amber but she didn’t answer.
“I grabbed my two children and we ran down there, I’m a veteran myself and it was like a war zone. There were bodies all over, people were just trying to help as much as they could. I just wanted to get the younger kids out of there so that’s what I did,” he said.
Nathan Books, 23, has set up a GoFundMe page for Amber, his cousin.
“I heard he was out on a $1,000 bond for running over his girlfriend. It just seems crazy and such a small amount — the rules need to change,” Brooks told The Sun, referring to the suspect. “People have been left traumatized by what they saw at the parade, you don’t expect something like this to happen in a place like Waukesha.”
Hundreds gathered on Monday night for a candlelight vigil and interfaith prayer offering.
“We walk that street every day — it’s home and it just hits really close to home,” longtime Waukesha resident Kim Mischalouski told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Police Chief Daniel Thompson and Mayor Shawn Reilly were in attendance at the vigil.
“When tragedy struck this great city, the community responded. Members of the community selflessly went to the aid of the victims. My heart and department prayers go out to the victims and their families,” Thompson said, according to the paper.
The repeat offender and aspiring rapper, Darrell Brooks Jr., has been indicted on five counts of intentional homicide.
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