At least six people were killed when a shooter with a high-powered rifle opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago-area suburb on Monday morning.
Police said the person of interest is Robert E. Crimo III, and goes by Bobby. They said the 22 year old is driving a 2010 Honda Fit and he is "considered very dangerous.”
The death toll was confirmed by Highland Park police officers during a press conference on Monday afternoon. They added that 23 people were transferred to the hospital by the fire department while several others “self-transported” and presented with gunshot wounds.
At a press conference held outside of NorthShore University Hospital where multiple victims were treated, hospital officials said the victims ranged from eight years old to 85 years old. There were “around four to five children” among those transported to hospital. Multiple victims have been able to go home.
In another press conference at 3.30 p.m. local time, five hours after the shooting took place, Lake County Sheriff Sgt. Christopher Covell said that the police were making “significant progress” in its investigation but were still hunting for the shooter with people living in the central business district being warned to stay indoors.
The police have described the shooter as a white male between 18 and 20 years old with “longer black hair” and a slight build.
The police said the gun that was recovered was a “high powered rifle” and that the shooter appeared to be shooting from a rooftop position which he accessed from a ladder.
“Highland Park Police are responding to an active shooter incident that occurred in downtown Highland Park during the 4th of July parade. This is an active incident. All individuals are advised to shelter in place. Law enforcement agencies are searching for the suspect; evidence of a firearm has been recovered. Numerous law enforcement officers are responding and have secured a perimeter around downtown Highland Park,” the City of Highland Park said in statement.
The police are conducting door-to-door searches in the neighborhood, which is 25 miles north of Chicago, and have appealed for businesses who may have CCTV footage of the area to get in touch.
Video footage shows families running from the parade after the shots were fired just after 10 a.m. Eyewitnesses told the Chicago Sun-Times that they heard up to 20 shots fired in several bursts.
Five of the six casualties died at the scene, officials said, adding that all five were adults. The sixth casualty died in hospital, but officials could not say how old that victim was.
Parade attendee Gabriela Martinez said the gunman began firing rounds around five minutes into the event, according to CBS News.
She said heard 20 to 30 shots and saw the shooter firing from the roof above a cosmetics store.
“I got up, I grabbed my daughter and she slipped out of my hands twice. I was getting really scared that she was going to get shot so I tried to cover her against my body so that if she got shot I would get shot first,” Martinez said.
Martinez said she and her daughter ran into Uncle Dan’s, a local camping store, where she saw two women with gunshot wounds on their legs.
President Joe Biden referenced Highland Park in a speech he gave at a Fourth of July party at the White House, where he spoke about how polarized the United States is. In a separate statement earlier in the day the president wrote he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community.”
Fourth of July events planned for later in the day in surrounding towns have also been canceled, due to what police are describing as a “mass shooting.”
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said he and his team were monitoring the situation and making resources available to the Highland Park police department.
- With files from Manisha Krishnan and Mack Lamoureux