HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) – A rooftop gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people, injuring at least 30 and hundreds of marchers. mothers with strollers and children riding bicycles. Police said they were fleeing in terror.
Authorities say a man believed to be interested in the shooting was arrested by police Monday night following an hour-long manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community about 30,000 people on the north coast of Chicago.
The 4th of July shooting is just the latest shooting rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become places of killing in recent months. This time, bloodshed occurred as the whole country tried to find a cause to celebrate its founding and the ties that still hold it together.
“It definitely gets a lot harder when it’s not just your hometown but it’s right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route on Thursday night. Two to retrieve a child’s chair, blanket, and bicycle that he and his family abandoned when the shooting began.
“It has become commonplace now,” Tuazon said of what he called another American atrocity. “We don’t blink anymore. Until the law changes, it will stay the same.”
The shooting happened at a point on the parade route, where many residents set out to set out important viewing spots early in the day for the annual celebration. Dozens of bullets were fired, sending hundreds of marchers – some of whom looked bloody – to flee. They leave behind traces of abandoned items that reveal daily life suddenly, violently disrupted: A bag of half-eaten chips; a box of chocolate chip cookies scattered on the lawn; Chicago Cubs hat of a child.
“There is no safe place,” said Barbara Harte, 73, of Highland Park, who stayed away from the parade for fear of a mass shooting but later ventured out of her home.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled up to Robert E. Crimo III about five miles north of the scene of the shooting, hours after police released photos of the man and his wife. image of his silver Honda Fit, while also warning the public that he was potentially armed and dangerous. Authorities initially said he was 22 years old, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21 years old.
Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect but said identifying him as a person of interest, sharing his name and other information publicly is a serious step.
Lake County Main Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference “several deceased victims” died at the scene and one person was taken to a hospital and died there. Police have not released details about the victims or injured.
Lake County Mayor Jennifer Banek said the five people who died at the parade were adults, but there was no word on a sixth victim who was taken to the hospital and died there. One of the dead was a Mexican citizen, Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, said on Twitter Monday. He said two other Mexicans were injured.
NorthShore University Medical Center admitted 26 patients after the attack. Dr Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness, said all but one had gunshot wounds. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated that four or five patients were children.
Temple said 19 of them have been treated and discharged. Others have been transferred to other hospitals, while two patients, in stable condition, remain at Highland Park hospital.
“It is appalling that an American celebration has been destroyed by our only plague in America,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said at a news conference.
“I’m furious because it doesn’t have to be… while we celebrate July 4th only once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly tradition – yes, every day. week – of America.”
Authorities said the shooter opened fire at about 10:15 a.m., when the parade passed about 3/4.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, who led the incident at the scene, said the gunman appeared to have used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a position atop a commercial building where he is “very hard to see.” He said the rifle was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
“Very random, very purposeful and a very sad day,” Covelli said.
President Joe Biden on Monday said he and first lady Jill Biden are “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused grief to the American community on this Independence Day.”
Biden signed the widest range of gun violence bills yet passed by Congress over the decades, a compromise that shows at the same time both progress on a long-standing dilemma and deep partisan divisions that persist.
As word of the arrest spread, residents gathered in the homes began venturing out, some walking toward the scene of the shooting. Several people stood and stared at the scene, with abandoned picnic blankets, hundreds of lawn chairs and backpacks still in place when filming began.
Police believe there is only one gunman but warn that he should still be considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby cities have canceled events including parades and fireworks, some of them noting that the Highland Park shooting remains on a large scale. The Chicago White Sox also announced on Twitter that a planned fireworks show after the game would be canceled due to the shooting.
More than 100 law enforcement officers were called to the scene of the parade or dispatched to search for the suspected shooter.
More than a dozen police officers on Monday surrounded a home listed as the address for Crimo in Highland Park. Several officers held rifles as they stared at the house. Police cordoned off the roads leading to the house in a tree-lined neighborhood near the golf course, allowing only select law enforcement vehicles to pass through the narrow outer ring.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, is an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens of videos and songs, some ominous and violent.
In an animated video since being taken down by YouTube, Crimo talks about armies “walking in the dark” as it depicts a man with a rifle, a body on the ground and another character raising his hand. from the far. A frame later shows a close-up of a chest full of blood and another police car approaching when the shooter raises his hand.
In another video, Crimo shows up in class wearing a black bike helmet, saying he’s “like a sleepwalker… I know what I have to do,” then adds, Everything led to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself.”
Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime snack shop owner, unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Highland Park in 2019, calling himself “a man for the people”.
Highland Park is a close-knit community of about 30,000 people located on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of Chicago, with sprawling lakeside mansions and properties that have long attracted the rich and sometimes famous , including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for many years when he played for the Chicago Bulls. John Hughes has shot parts of several films in the city, including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” and “Weird Science.”
Ominous signs of a joyful event suddenly turned horrifying enveloped both sides of Central Avenue, where the shooting took place. Dozens of baby strollers – some carrying American flags, abandoned children’s bicycles and an abandoned Cinderella helmet. Blankets, lawn chairs, coffee and water bottles were thrown about as people fled.
Gina Troiani and her son were lining up in daycare to get ready to hit the parade route when she heard a loud sound she believed were fireworks – until she heard everyone shouting about a gunman. In a video that Troiani shot on her phone, several children are clearly startled by the loud noise, and they run to the side of the road as sirens blare nearby.
“We started running in the opposite direction,” she told The Associated Press.
Her 5-year-old son is riding a bicycle decorated with curled blue and red ribbons. He and the other children in the group held small American flags. The city says on its website that the festivities include a bicycle and children’s pet parade.
Troiani said she pushed her son’s bike, running through the neighborhood to get back to their car.
“It was just some kind of chaos,” she said. “There are people separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their carriages, grabbed their kids and started running.”
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was riding in a float parade with colleagues and the group was about to turn onto the main road when she saw people running from the area.
“People started saying, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,’” Glickman told the AP. “So we just ran. We just run. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
She didn’t hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.
“I was so scared,” she said. “It’s just very sad.”
Foody contributed from Chicago. Associated Press writers Mike Balsamo in New York, David Koenig in Dallas, Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia, Fabiola Sánchez in Monterrey, Mexico, Jim Mustian in New Orleans, Bernard Condon in New York, and Martha Irvine and Mike Householder in Highland Park contributed Report.