Waukesha Christmas Parade: How a Store Owner Saved Dozens of Lives During the Deadly Rampage

'It was horrific' says record store owner Dan Schneiderman, who ushered pedestrians to safety

Waukesha Christmas Parade
The scene in Waukesha Sunday. Photo: City of Waukesha

Dan Schneiderman was handing out candy to the crowd at the Waukesha Christmas Parade when he stepped into an urban nightmare.

An out-of-control SUV was hitting pedestrians along the parade route, ultimately killing 5 people and injuring 48 more.

"All of a sudden, I saw this car flying up," Schneiderman, 51, tells PEOPLE. "God, it's hard to even re-picture this. It literally hit about 12 people in front of my store."

Schneiderman, who owns Vinyl Vault Records on Main Street, leapt into action, unlocking his store and ushering dozens of frightened paradegoers to safety.

"Even though I had some fear in me, I just opened the door and just started grabbing people and saying, 'get inside, get inside, get inside!'" he recalls. "I herded probably 60 to 70 people into the store."

"About a minute after it happened, I heard a police office screaming 'shots fired! shots fired!' Schneiderman continues. "And then it became even more chaotic."

Inside the record store, the huddled crowd was in disarray. "People were shoving their children into my record racks to get them as buried as they could," he recalls. "I could see fear on their faces."

As he peered outside, Schneiderman saw a horrific sight: an elderly woman had fallen and hit her head on the cement. She was unable to get up."

Despite the danger, Schneiderman knew he had to act. "I quickly just ran out in the street and picked her up," he recalls. "I brought her inside and put her in a chair until medical help could arrive."

As the crowd sat in the record store, Schneiderman kept an eye on the door. "I kept telling people to stay down, that we're safe. And as people were running by, I'd quickly unlock the door and get them inside." After about 45 minutes, police had secured the perimeter and the crowd was able to safely leave.

Schneiderman says that he will never forget the sights and sounds of that day. " I couldn't even describe the sound," he says. "It was horrific. It was just this 'thud, thud, thud thud,' and people were flying in the air."

The Waukesha Police Department confirms that hundreds of spectators took refuge in local businesses, including Vinyl Vault Records.

Police allege that 39-year-old Darrell Brooks, drove his SUV along the parade route, striking dozens of people. At least five people are dead and 48 are injured. Brooks has been charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide. He is being held without bond and has not yet entered a plea.

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