NFL Star J.J. Watt Offers to Pay Funeral Costs for Waukesha Christmas Parade Victims

J.J. Watt has offered to cover the funeral expenses of the victims that died during his Wisconsin hometown's annual Christmas parade after a man drove into the crowd.

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt offered to cover the funeral costs for all of the victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade after a car drove into the crowd.

At least six people were killed and dozens more were injured at the annual parade in Watt’s Wisconsin hometown. 

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

Watt was born in Waukesha and played football at Pewaukee High School. He tweeted after learning of the tragedy. “Just now seeing what happened at the holiday parade back home in Waukesha tonight. Horrific images,” he wrote. “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.”

His brothers, who play for the Pittsburgh Steelers, also shared their thoughts 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,” Derek Watt wrote. 

Darrell Brooks Jr. was charged with five counts of first-degree intentional homicide following the attack. Prosecutors say he will likely face additional charges.

Watt has taken similar measures before, offering to cover funeral costs of the people who died in the 2018 Santa Fe High School shooting, and when Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston while he was playing for the Houston Texans. He raised $37 million out of a goal of $200,000 to help rebuild the area.

Image source: The Guardian