Highland Park, United States:
Police arrested a suspect Monday after a mass shooting killed six people during a US Independence Day parade in an affluent Chicago suburb, casting a dark shadow over the country’s most patriotic holiday.
The suspect, identified as Robert Crimo, 22, was taken into custody following a massive manhunt in the Illinois town of Highland Park, where a July 4 family-focused parade celebration had turned into a scene of death and trauma. †
The gunman fired a high-powered rifle at the holiday crowd from a rooftop, causing scenes of utter chaos as panicked spectators ran for their lives, leaving behind a parade route littered with chairs, abandoned balloons and personal belongings.
Emergency services said about two dozen people, including children, were being treated for gunshot wounds, some in critical condition.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Crimo was “in custody.” Police had previously warned that he was armed and “very dangerous”. A Chicago musician of the same age and of the same name goes by the stage name “Awake the Rapper” online.
The shooting is part of a wave of gun violence that is sweeping the United States, where about 40,000 deaths a year are caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
And it cast a veil over America’s Independence Day, when towns and cities across the country hold similar parades and people — many dressed in variations of the American flag — hold barbecues, attend sporting events and set off fireworks.
“We were getting ready to march down the street and then all the sudden waves of these people started running after us, as if they were running towards us. And just before that happened, we heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and I thought it was fireworks,” Emily Prazak, who took part in the parade, told AFP.
– Spectators ‘focused’ –
Don Johnson, who attended the parade, said he initially thought the shots were a blowback from a car.
“And finally I heard screams from a block away and people running and carrying their kids and stuff, and we ran into the gas station and we were there for three hours,” he told AFP.
“I’ve seen scenes like this over and over on TV and in different communities, and I didn’t think it would ever happen here,” he said.
Police officials said the shooting began at 10:14 a.m., when the parade was about three-quarters of the way through.
“It sounds like bystanders were targeted… So very random, very deliberate and very sad,” said Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli.
Five of the six dead, all adults, had died at the scene. The sixth was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries.
dr. Brigham Temple of Highland Park Hospital, where most of the victims have been admitted, said 25 people aged 8 to 85 had been admitted with gunshot wounds.
He said there were “four or five” children, and 16 people were later fired.
Police said the gunman used a “powerful rifle” and “firearms evidence” was found on the roof of a nearby business.
“All indications are that he was discreet, he was very difficult to see,” Covelli said.
One of the dead was a Mexican, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.
“We stand with the Chicago community in its pain and sorrow over this tragedy,” he tweeted.
– 309 mass shootings so far –
President Joe Biden expressed his shock and vowed to continue fighting “the epidemic of gun violence” plaguing the country.
“I’m not going to give up,” he said.
Last week, Biden signed the first major federal gun safety law in decades, just days after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a gun in public.
The deeply divided gun control debate was rekindled by two massacres in May that shot 10 black grocery store customers in upstate New York and killed 21 people, mostly young children, at a Texas elementary school.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 309 mass shootings in the US so far in 2022, including at least three others on July 4, but with no deaths.
“It is devastating that a celebration of America was torn apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker told reporters Monday.
“A day dedicated to freedom has cast a stark light on the one freedom we refuse to maintain as a nation — the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)