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6 dead, dozens hurt in shooting at parade

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-05 07:00

Police crime tape is seen near an American flag-themed sunglasses laying on the ground at the scene of the Fourth of July parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois on July 4, 2022. A shooter opened fire Monday during a parade to mark US Independence Day in the state of Illinois, killing at least six people, officials said. [Photo/Agencies]

A gunman opened fire on a rooftop into an Independence Day parade in Illinois on Monday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens.

The shooting happened around 10:15 am, when the parade was about three-quarters completed in downtown Highland Park, about 25 miles north of Chicago, said authorities.

Late Monday afternoon, police identified the person of interest in the shooting as 22-year-old Robert E Crimo III. The suspect has been "taken into custody without incident" following a massive manhunt, said police.

A police officer briefly chased the suspect as he drove about five miles north of the shooting scene before the man pulled over and was taken into custody, said Highland Park police.

The shooter apparently used a "high-powered rifle" to fire from a spot atop a commercial building and targeted people attending the parade. Earlier in the day, police described the gunman as a white man with a small build and longer black hair.

Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said the gunfire stopped around the time when police officers reached the shooting scene. He said the shooter was "discreet and very difficult to see" and called the crime "very random, very intentional".

Police said they are urgently tracing the recovered firearm to figure out who purchased the weapon and its origin.

Among the victims, five were killed during the shooting at the scene and another person died later in the hospital. Police have not released details about the victims or wounded.

The five victims killed at the scene were all adults, said Jennifer Banek, the Lake County coroner, but she didn't have information on the sixth victim, who was taken to a hospital and died there.

Following the attack, NorthShore Highland Park Hospital said in a statement that the facility received 26 people, with their ages ranging from 8 to 85.

"A vast majority suffered gunshot wounds and the remaining sustained injuries as a result of the ensuing chaos at the parade," said the NorthShore Highland Park Hospital.

Roberto Velasco, Mexico's director for North American affairs, said on Twitter that one Mexican national was killed in the Highland Park shooting and two other Mexicans were wounded.

Celebrations, including parades and fireworks, were called off in several nearby cities amid fears of more violence.

In a speech Monday evening, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker addressed the Highland Park community, saying "there are no words" to describe the loss and grief of the families of those killed and injured in the parade.

"It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague," Pritzker said. "A day to freedom has put into stark relief the one freedom we, as a nation, refused to uphold. The freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily fear of gun violence."

President Joe Biden on Monday said in a statement that he and first lady Jill Biden were "shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day." He said he had "surged Federal law enforcement to assist in the urgent search for the shooter, who remains at large at this time".

Monday's shooting marks at least the 308th mass shooting in the US this year, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit tracking such incidents.

It was the latest in a series of high-profiling mass shootings in recent months. Ten people were killed and three were wounded when a heavily armed white man opened fire at a grocery store in a predominantly black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, in May. In Uvalde, Texas, 19 children, 2 adults were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in June.

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