NFL star JJ Watt, a defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals, has announced that he will pay for the funerals of the six victims of the tragedy that occurred on Sunday in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which is his hometown.
At least six people were killed and over sixty were injured on Sunday when suspect Darrell Brooks Jr. plowed through a Christmas parade in a red SUV. Watt reportedly announced through local media that he will pay for the funerals of the victims, according to Fox News.
“JJ Watt is covering the funeral costs for everyone that lost their life in the Waukesha Christmas Parade,” tweeted journalist and author Cory Jennerjohn. “That is an amazing gesture. He has such a huge heart.”
J.J. Watt is covering the funeral costs for everyone that lost their life in the Waukesha Christmas Parade. That is an amazing gesture. He has such a huge heart.
— Cory Jennerjohn (@CoryJennerjohn) November 23, 2021
The five initial victims of the tragedy were identified as 81-year-old Wilhelm Hospel, 79-year-old Virginia Sorenson, 71-year-old LeAnna Owen, 52-year-old Tamara Durand and 52-year-old Jane Kulich. Sadly, it was announced yesterday that eight-year-old Jackson Sparks had passed away as well. The little boy underwent brain surgery on Sunday night, but he succumbed to his injuries yesterday.
Watt, who was born in Waukesha and played football at Pewaukee High School, took to Twitter after the tragedy to give his thoughts on it.
“Just now seeing what happened at the holiday parade back home in Waukesha tonight. Horrific images,” his tweet read. “Truly hoping everyone is going to be ok and those not involved are now safe. Thankful to everyone who rushed to action and helped the wounded.”
Just now seeing what happened at the holiday parade back home in Waukesha tonight.
Truly hoping everyone is going to be ok and those not involved are now safe.
Thankful to everyone who rushed to action and helped the wounded.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 22, 2021
Watt’s brother Derek also addressed the tragedy on social media.
“Thinking of all those affected by the senseless tragedy tonight back home in Waukesha, WI. This news truly is heartbreaking to see,” wrote Derek Watt.
Brooks has since been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide, a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence if convicted. Prosecutors have said that additional charges are coming, as a homicide charge for young Sparks’ killing needs to be added as well.
This comes after former President Donald Trump spoke out to give his thoughts on the Waukesha rampage as well.
“The whole world is watching the tragedy which just took place in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it is devastating, horrible, and very very sick!” Trump said in an emailed statement. “My heart goes out to the people of this great, beautiful, and hardworking community.”
“We must find the answers to this terrible crime, and stop these violent and depraved acts from happening again,” Trump added. “I am with you Waukesha, and always will be!”