Cardinals’ J.J. Watt to cover funeral costs for people killed in Waukesha parade

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt will cover the costs for the six people who died when a man drove an SUV into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, according to media reports.

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Watt was born in Waukesha County and grew up in Pewaukee, located north of the city of Waukesha. He attended high school in Pewaukee and played college football at the University of Wisconsin.

Watt’s offer to cover expenses was reported by NBC News and The Sporting News.

Darrell Brooks Jr., 39, was charged Tuesday with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide. Police said he intentionally drove his SUV into the crowd at the parade. An 8-year-old boy was among those who were killed. Brooks may face additional charges for the sixth death.

Sixty-two people were injured, NBC News reported.

>> Waukesha Christmas parade: 6th victim, a child, dies, prosecutor says

Brooks made his first court appearance on Tuesday. If convicted of the charges, Brooks faces a mandatory life sentence.

Derek Watt, J.J. Watt’s brother and a fullback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also helped set up a community fund through the United Way and Waukesha County Community Foundation.

>> Waukesha victim’s organs donated to survivors of Christmas parade tragedy

Five victims were initially identified as Wilhelm Hospel, 81; Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; and Jane Kulich, 52.

An 8-year-old child, Jackson Sparks, was identified as the sixth victim.

In 2018, J.J. Watt offered to cover the funeral costs of the people who died in the Santa Fe High School shooting, The Sporting News reported. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and the Gulf region in 2017, J.J. Watt, then a member of the Houston Texans, raised $37 million out of a goal of $200,000 to help rebuild the area.

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