HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. ( Associated Press) — A gunman opened fire from a rooftop at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb, killing at least six people and injuring 30 others.
The suspect was still absconding hours after the shooting and police were conducting searches in the area.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogman said in the afternoon that officers had identified 22-year-old Robert E. Cremo III as a person of interest, warning he should be considered armed and dangerous. Police declined to answer questions about how they identified Cremo. Officials described his car as a Silver Honda Fit with an Illinois license plate DM 80653.
The shooting on July 4 joins other incidents that have broken the norm of American life.
In recent months, schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have become the scene of massacres. This time, bloodshed ensues as the nation tries to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the ties that still hold it together.
Mayor Nancy Rottering said the violence had “shocked us to the core,” adding that “on a day when we come together to celebrate community and freedom, we are mourning the tragic loss of life.” And facing the terror that has been imposed on us.”
Shots were fired at one point along the parade route, where many residents lined up earlier in the day to get a prime view of the annual celebration.
Dozens of bullets forced hundreds of parade-goers to flee, some of them covered in blood.
In his wake he left a trail of discarded objects, indicating daily life that was suddenly and violently interrupted: a half-eaten bag of potato chips; A box of chocolate chip cookies fell on the grass; A child’s Chicago Cubs hat.
“Nowhere is safe,” said 73-year-old Barbara Hurt, a Highland Park resident who had stayed away from the parade for fear of a mass shooting, but then ran out of her home.
Christopher Cowelly, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, told a news conference that several victims died on the spot, and one of them was taken to hospital and died there. Police did not provide details about the victims or the injured.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said all five people who died in the parade were adults and had no idea about the sixth victim who died in hospital.
Roberto Velasco, director of the North America unit at Mexico’s foreign ministry, said on Twitter Monday that a Mexican national was killed and two others were injured in Highland Park.
Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness at Northshore University Health Center, said 26 patients came to Highland Park Hospital after the attack and all but one were shot. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated that four or five patients were children.
He said 19 patients were treated and released. Others were transferred to other hospitals, while two patients remained at Highland Park Hospital in stable condition.
Officials said the shooter opened fire around 10:15 a.m. when the parade was three-quarters complete.
According to Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the shooter apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to open fire from a location atop a building where it was very difficult to see. He said the gun has been recovered from the spot. The police have also found the ladder.
US President Joe Biden said on Monday that he and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused pain in the American community on Independence Day.”
Foodie contributed from Chicago.