Among the six people killed in the Christmas parade massacre in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Sunday were three members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, a dance troupe comprised of grandmothers who love performing for their community.
The group posted a touching Facebook statement on Monday honoring the fallen grannies and celebrating their legacy.
In an admirable show of restraint, the club did not express anger at the suspect, career criminal Darrell Brooks, who was released from jail on $1,000 cash bond earlier this month after his latest arrest in a litany of crimes spanning more than two decades.
“The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are [devastated] by this terrible [tragedy] with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade,” the ensemble wrote.
“Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness,” the post said.
“While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.”
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies remembered those who perished as “extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together.”
“Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted,” the group said.
The post closed with an appeal: “Please keep them [and] their families, friends, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies and everyone [whose] lives have forever changed in your thoughts and prayers.”
The Dancing Grannies troupe, which was formed in 1984, performs in about 25 parades each year between Memorial Day and Christmas, according to the group’s website.
“They have won many trophies, but it’s the enthusiasm and smiles from children and adults of all ages that warm the hearts of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies,” the club wrote.
Virginia Sorenson, 79, LeAnna Owen, 71, and Tamara Durand, 52, were the Dancing Grannies who died when Brooks allegedly drove his SUV through the Waukesha Christmas parade.
“Sorenson, known as Ginny, loved to dance and was an instructor and choreographer who helped newcomers and veterans with the Dancing Grannies’ routines,” Hannah Kirby wrote Tuesday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The organization was an integral part of Owen’s identity. Durand ‘danced her way through life,’ her husband David Durand said.”
Also killed was Wilhelm Hospel, 81, whose wife, Lola, was a member of the troupe. Kirby wrote that Hospel “helped out, ferrying the dancers and making sure everyone had what they needed.”
In addition to the six people killed, dozens were injured in the rampage.