A gunman opened fire at an Independence Day parade in a Chicago suburb on Monday, killing at least six and injuring more than 30 people.
The incident occurred in Highland Park, Illinois, an affluent city with a population of about 30,000. Residents were celebrating the Fourth of July with a parade when the gunman started firing at them from a rooftop around 10:15 a.m., local officials said in a statement.
Scenes of celebration soon turned into those of terror as residents, parade marchers, children on their bicycles and parents pushing their babies in strollers desperately tried to escape the gunman’s line of fire, The Associated Press reported.
According to reporting and footage from the news service, dropped bags of potato chips, abandoned strollers and scooters littered the scene.
Multiple local and state agencies, including the Illinois State Police, responded to the incident.
Investigators recovered a firearm in the area.
Some of the people at the parade initially mistook the sound of gunfire for fireworks, Zoe Pawelczak, who attended the Independence Day festivities in the city, told CNN.
“And I was like, something’s wrong. I grabbed my dad and started running. All of a sudden everyone behind us started running,” Pawelczak said.
“I looked back probably 20 feet away from me. I saw a girl shot and killed,” she added, according to the outlet.
One witness and his wife had a rude awakening that the sounds came from a firearm, not fireworks, when they saw a gunshot wound on a man next to them.
Witness Jeff Leon and his wife told CNN that the moment they found out it was a mass shooting was when they noticed someone with an “obvious extremely deep bullet graze wound along the right side of his head above the temple.”
Police arrested a suspect — 22-year-old Robert “Bobby” Crimo III of Highwood, Illinois — around 6:30 p.m on Route 41 at Westleigh Road, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said.
Rotering told the Chicago Tribune the gun that was found had been purchased legally in Illinois.
“I want to thank our first responders for their bravery and extraordinary efforts today. Our police and firefighters saved countless lives with their responses — running into danger and taking immediate action to save others,” the mayor said in a statement, adding that she was “grateful for these selfless acts.”
“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” President Joe Biden said in response to the tragedy, according to a White House news release.
“I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence,” Biden said.
Other Democrats blamed Second Amendment proponents and conservatives for the shooting.
— Sean Casten (@SeanCasten) July 4, 2022
“This is the world the NRA, the @GOP and SCOTUS have created. We don’t have to live like this. But they all have blood on their hands for making this our July 4th reality,” Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois said in a tweet on Monday.
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