CHICAGO (CBS) – The man accused of plowing his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin a week and a half ago says he feels like he’s being demonized.
Six people died and dozens were injured. While the driver, Darrell Brooks, didn’t talk about a motive when he spoke with a reporter while in jail — he did say he feels like he’s being portrayed as a monster.READ MORE: 'I Missed Him The Whole Time': Chicago Family Grateful As Father Recovers From Shooting, Attempted Carjacking
Brooks’ mother, Dawn Woods, released a letter to the media offering condolences to the victims. She says Brooks has had mental health issues since he was young but does not have the money or insurance to get his medication.
She also urged the “broken system” be fixed — to keep such a tragedy from happening again.READ MORE: 1 New York City Police Officer, Suspect Killed In Harlem Shooting
Here is the full letter, as published Wednesday by CBS 58 Milwaukee:
“The Lord spoke to my heart this morning and said to me it is time to speak.
“I’ve been contacted by numerous media outlets for a statement and have until now been reluctant to speak. Because of the way that my family and I have been and attacked in the media and whatever I say will be taken out of content.
“It is my hope that what I am about to say dose not get edited and will be made public in it’s entirety.
“We the family of Darrell Brooks want to give our condolence to the families of those who lives were so tragically taken and all of those who were injured as well as the community of Waukesha. We are deeply saddened and our hearts are torn to pieces over what happened on a day set aside for a community to come together and celebrate. What was meant to be a joyous day became a day of tragedy and heart ache. A day that we wish with all our heart would have never happened.
“Darrell did not come from a bad family like many people have said. He came from a loving Christian family and is the grandson of ministers. Darrell has suffered from mental health issues since he was very young. In those years he received counseling and was on medication. When he became an adult a decision was made that he no longer suffered from a mental illness. That decision left him with no insurance or financial means to pay for medication and when determined necessary counseling. Mental illness is not cheap to treat but what’s more important dollars spent on treatment and recourses or lives lost.
“Instead of offering help and resources to combat the problem a jail cell was given. Over and over again. When mental illness is not properly treated the person becomes sicker and sicker. It doesn’t go away once a person becomes an adult.
“We are not making excuses but we believe what has happened is because he was not given the help and resources he needed. 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.
“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.
“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.
“Mental illness is real and the system is broken it can and must be fixed NOW, not next year or with a new legislation NOW. So many like Darrell that have fallen through the cracks because of a broken system that no one cared to address, can get the help they so desperately need.
“Mental illness affects every walk of life and dwells in every community.
“It’s lives in our homes, it lives next door, it’s in our school’s, the grocery store, shopping malls, movie theater and other places of entertainment, and places of worship, and many other places in our communities even at parades.
“What next you say, first our hearts have to heal and we have to come together roll up our sleeves and get to work and do what ever is necessary to fix a system that has for far too long been broken. Myself and my family pray that our Lord and Savior Jesus comfort and strength each of you, and give you all peace that is beyond understanding.
“I also ask respectfully that the media please to not invade my home, not to call or send emails, myself and my family need out time to grieve as well.
“May Bless each and everyone of you.
“Dawn Woods and family”
Meanwhile, a top prosecutor in Milwaukee said the $1,000 bail set for Brooks before the Christmas parade tragedy was that low because of an overworked assistant.
The prosecutor announced Thursday that his young assistant never saw Brooks’ risk assessment.MORE NEWS: No One In Custody As Investigation Continues Into Hit-And-Run That Killed Retired Police Officer Richard Haljean In Edison Park
On Nov. 19, Brooks posted the $1,000 bail in a domestic violence case. Two days later, he was accused of killing six people as he drove through the parade route.