Six people were killed and more than two dozen hospitalized after a shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. The shooting reportedly began about 15 minutes into the parade, when witnesses say that the shooter, a white man around 19 years old, began targeting people seemingly at random from a nearby rooftop.
The NorthShore University Health System said it has a total of 31 patients, most with gunshot wounds and a few that were injured in the panic that followed. At least one child is critically injured, said Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage.
Police are still searching for the gunman, whom they describe as a white man aged 18-20, who is “armed and dangerous." Officials have identified Robert “Bobby" Crimo, 22, as a person of interest and said he might be driving a 2010 silver Honda. President Biden also said he’s “surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter." Police have advised people living nearby to stay at home and shelter in place until the shooter is found. They said that their investigation is centered on the business district, the downtown area and along the parade route.
Illinois has the second-highest rate of mass shootings in the US, having recorded more than 200 so far in 2022. Mass shootings are defined as having more than four victims other than the shooter but seldom do mass shootings in the US have 30 victims as this one does.
This shooting comes just weeks after Congress passed bipartisan legislation to help fund mental health initiatives and put more restrictions on people under 21 buying firearms. But Democrats nationwide have argued that the legislation doesn’t go far enough and leaves weapons like assault rifles too easily accessible.
“On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we’re instead mourning the tragic loss of life," said the city’s mayor Nancy Rotering.
“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day,” said President Joe Biden in a press statement. “I recently signed the first major bipartisan gun reform legislation in almost thirty years into law, which includes actions that will save lives. But there is much more work to do, and I’m not going to give up fighting the epidemic of gun violence.”