HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois, July 4 (Reuters) – A gunman perched on a rooftop opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bicycles during a July 4 parade on Monday, killing six and wounding over 36 in suburban Chicago at Highland Park.
The shooter climbed onto the roof of a business using a ladder in an alley, police said. The attack turned a civic display of patriotism into a scene of chaos.
Hours later, police announced they had a suspect in custody after 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III turned himself in to authorities.
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Highland Park’s main street has become a crime scene stretching for blocks, strewn with abandoned chairs and flags. Witnesses who later returned to retrieve strollers and other items were told they could not go past the police registration.
“It sounded like fireworks,” said retired doctor Richard Kaufman, who was standing opposite where the shooter opened fire, adding that he heard about 200 shots.
“It was pandemonium,” he said. “People were covered in blood who were tripping over each other.”
The shooting comes with fresh gun violence in the minds of many Americans. Just hours after the shooting in Highland Park, two Philadelphia police tenders were shot near Benjamin Franklin Parkway as thousands celebrated a Fourth of July concert and fireworks display. Both officers were later released from hospital. Read more
In May, a gunman murdered 19 school children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just 10 days after a man shot dead 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. Read more
The attack in suburban Chicago is likely to reignite the debate over gun control and whether tougher measures can prevent the mass shootings that occur so frequently in the United States.
Police said they do not know what the motive for the shooting in Highland Park was. The injured were aged between 8 and 85, including four or five children.
Nicolas Toledo, a septuagenarian, was the first victim identified Monday evening by his family.
“My grandfather Nicolas Toledo, father of 8 children and grandfather of many, left us this morning on the 4th of July, what was supposed to be a fun family day turned into a horrible nightmare for all of us”, his granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, said in a statement posted by the family on social media.
“As a family, we are broken and numb,” she added.
Another victim was Jacki Sundheim, a teacher at a Highland Park synagogue. The North Shore Congregation Israel confirmed his death in an email to congregants.
“There are not enough words to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and our sympathy for her family and loved ones,” the synagogue said.
VIOLENT IMAGES ONLINE
Social media and other online posts written by accounts that appeared to be associated with Crimo or his rapper alias, Awake The Rapper, often depicted violent images or messages.
Accounts showed a man with physical characteristics and facial tattoos similar to those in photos of the suspect released by police.
A music video posted on YouTube under Awake The Rapper, for example, showed drawings of a stickman holding a gun in front of another character lying on the ground.
In another video, a stick figure is bleeding in front of police cars. Reuters could not verify whether the YouTube account belonged to Crimo, although the account was shut down on Monday after it was named as a suspect.
A YouTube spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
President Joe Biden said he and his wife Jill were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused heartbreak in an American community on this Independence Day.”
Biden referenced in his statement the bipartisan gun reform legislation he signed recently, but said there was still much to do, and added, “I’m not going to give up on the fight against gun violence. ‘epidemic of gun violence.’
A 36-year-old Highland Park native who wanted to be identified as Sara, told Reuters she had attended the parade most years since she was a child.
“Not even five minutes later, very soon after, the police and fire engines that were part of the parade had passed, I heard ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,'” she said. , adding that she initially thought they were muskets that were sometimes used. in parades.
“The banging didn’t stop…again it went ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’ and I turned around and said ‘those are gunshots, run! ‘”
Highland Park’s population is 30,000 and nearly 90% white, according to the US Census Bureau. About a third of the population is Jewish, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
After the Uvalde and Buffalo shootings, Congress last month passed its first major federal gun reform in three decades, providing federal funding to states that administer “red flag” laws aimed at removing guns from people considered dangerous.
The law does not prohibit the sale of assault rifles or high-capacity magazines, but does take some steps toward background checks by allowing access to information about significant crimes committed by minors. Read more
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Reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Eric Cox; Additional reporting Caroline Stauffer in Chicago; Kanishka Singh, Chris Gallagher, David Brunnstrom and Chris Bing in Washington; and Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Written by Daniel Trotta, David Brunnstrom and Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Mary Milliken, Noeleen Walder and Bill Berkrot
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