Police on Monday captured a person of interest associated with a shooting that killed six people and wounded more than 36 when a man with a high-powered rifle opened fire from a rooftop at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, according to a local NBC television station.
Police had previously identified a person of interest in the shooting, 22-year-old Robert E Crimo III, who was from the area. They said he was driving a silver 2010 Honda Fit automobile.
At least six people are dead and dozens of others are wounded, including one child, following the mass shooting at a July Fourth parade.
Five of the six victims in the attack were adults who died at the scene, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said at a briefing. All five have been identified, and families are now being notified.
The sixth victim died at a local hospital. No additional information was provided.
Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said a child who had been critically injured is among the roughly two dozen people taken to local hospitals. Some of the injuries include gunshot wounds to the abdomen and limbs.
NPR member station WBEZ reported the “vast majority” of the wounded are being treated for gunshot wounds. Some also “sustained injuries as a result of the ensuing chaos at the parade.”
Schrage said crews on scene responded quickly as did witnesses who helped tie tourniquets.
Witnesses describe chaos, panic and disbelief
Miles Zaremski told NPR that when he first heard the gunshots he mistook them for a car backfiring or fireworks.
“And then all of a sudden, the crowd … started running in a stampede fashion,” he said.
“And then I gingerly went a little bit forward, and all of a sudden I see blood on the cement. And I see individuals in pools of blood … and I knew there was a mass shooting.”
Zaremski said he rushed to help but was quickly moved away by police and emergency services who descended on the scene within moments.
“I saw the carnage, and I almost broke down,” he said, shaken by the events.
Zaremski has lived in Highland Park since 1976 and described it as a loving and peaceful community at odds with the chaos he experienced.
“It’s surreal. It must have been a science fiction film I just saw, but unfortunately it wasn’t,” he said. “Our country is a scary place.”
The shooting was quick and vicious
O’Neill said the gunman began firing at about 10:14 a.m. local time. It’s unclear how many shot were fired, but several witnesses reported hearing about 20 or more rounds.
The incident happened very quickly, and police and fire units were already on scene because of the parade. O’Neill added that the department has trained in rapid deployment, rapid response and rendering aid.
President Biden says he and the first lady are ‘shocked’
President Joe Biden, who less than 10 days ago signed a bipartisan gun safety bill, issued a statement hours after the attack.
“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”
He noted that the new law “includes actions that will save lives.”
The measure is the first gun reform legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years and was signed about a month after two other mass shootings rocked the nation.
Illinois governor calls the shooter a ‘monster’
Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker called for prayer in the wake of the “the evil unleashed this morning” but added that prayers alone would not address the problem of gun violence in the country.
“There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their futures,” Pritzker said in a statement.
“We must — and we will — end this plague of gun violence.”
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said: “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”