6 killed in shooting at July 4 parade in Chicago suburb
By Robert Chiarito, Alan Yuhas and Mitch Smith
A massive search for a gunman turned Fourth of July celebrations across the Chicago region into chaos on Monday, after someone opened fire from a rooftop into a parade in suburban Highland Park, killing at least six people and sending two dozen more to the hospital with injuries.
Residents near the parade route were told to stay inside as hundreds of law enforcement officers fanned out across Chicago’s northern suburbs, and as communities weighed whether it was safe to carry on with their own holiday celebrations.
“Could this happen again?” Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office asked. “We don’t know what his intentions are at this point.”
Covelli said the gunman had not been identified, and he asked nearby residents to turn over any security camera footage to investigators. Officials had recovered a rifle, he said, and SWAT teams were going door to door in the area.
Covelli said the gunfire stopped around the time that police officers reached the shooting scene. “All indications is he was discreet and very difficult to see,” he said.
In downtown Highland Park, a lakefront suburb north of Chicago, lawn chairs remained scattered along the parade route as police with rifles patrolled the streets. Mayor Nancy Rotering said first responders had rushed to render aid during the shooting, risking their own safety to help others.
“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we’re instead mourning the loss, the tragic loss, of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us,” Rotering said.
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, a Democrat from suburban Chicago, said, “This scene has repeated itself over and over again because of the unfettered access to weapons of war. What was supposed to be a celebration of our freedom and unity today turned into yet another bloody massacre.”
The Lake County coroner said five of the six people killed in the attack were found dead at the scene, and the other died at a hospital. At least five of the people killed were adults.
Miles Zaremski, 73, a Highland Park resident who was at the parade, said that he heard what sounded like gunshots from an automatic rifle. “I was in the service a long time ago, so I know what that sound produces,” he said.
Zaremski said he was about a block away when he heard the “pop pop pop pop pop.”
“At first I thought it was a backfire or maybe was a firecracker,” he said, “but then all of a sudden there was a stampede of the crowd who was attending on either side of the street. So I kind of gingerly walked up, and all of a sudden I saw people bloodied.”
The shooting, he said, led to a “horrific” scene of terrified people and bloodied bodies. “I have never seen anything like it in my life,” he said, adding, “It was chaos.”