HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. ( Associated Press) — A shooter opened fire at an Independence Day parade from a rooftop in suburban Chicago, leaving a crowd pelted with gunfire, initially mistaking it for fireworks, before panicking hundreds of people of all ages. The people fled in terror. At least six people were killed and at least 30 were injured.
An hour-long search, during which residents closed businesses or received police escorts to their homes, ended with a traffic stop and brief chase on Monday evening, when officers detained a man, who was arrested. He described as a person of interest. He gave no motive for the attack in Highland Park, a thriving community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s north coast.
watch: What we know about the Highland Park mass shooting
The July 4th shooting was the latest to shatter the customs of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time, bloodshed ensued as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.
“It definitely hits hard when it’s not only your hometown, but it’s also in front of you,” said resident Ron Tuzon as he and a friend retrieved chairs, blankets and a kid’s bike on Monday evening. To return to the parade route. And his family left when the shooting started.
“It’s common now,” Tuzon said. “We don’t blink anymore. Until the law changes, it will continue to be so.”
The shooting took place at a location on the parade route, where many residents had seen key viewing points early in the day for the annual festival.
Among them was Nicolas Toledo, who was on his way from Mexico to Illinois to visit his family. His granddaughter Xochil Toledo told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was shot and died on the spot. Also killed was Jackie Sundheim, a lifelong congregation and “beloved” staff member at the nearby North Shore Congregation of Israel, which announced her death on its website.
Dozens of bullets sent hundreds of people on the parade – some apparently covered in blood – fled. They left a trail of abandoned objects that depict everyday life suddenly, violently interrupted: a box of chocolate cookies dropped on the grass; a child’s Chicago Cubs hat; Baby strollers, some with American flags.
“There is no safe place,” said 73-year-old Barbara Hurt, a Highland Park resident, who stayed away from the parade for fear of mass shootings but later left her home.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogman said a police officer pulled Robert E. Cremo III about 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of the shooting site, several hours after police issued a photo of the man and issued a warning That he could be armed and dangerous. Officers initially said he was 22, but FBI bulletins and Cremo’s social media said he was 21.
Police declined to immediately identify Cremo as a suspect, but said identifying him as a person of interest, publicly sharing his name and other information was a serious step.
Christopher Cowelly, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said at a news conference that “many of the deceased victims” died on the spot and one died in hospital. Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said five people killed in the parade were adults, but the sixth was not known.
Police have not released details about the victims, but Toledo’s granddaughter told the Sun-Times that Toledo had spent most of his life in Morelos, Mexico. Xochil Toledo said he remembers seeing his grandfather, who was in the late ’70s, when a band passed him.
“He was very happy,” she said. “Happy to live in the moment.”
Xochiel Toledo said that his father tried to save his grandfather and was shot in the arm; Her boyfriend was also shot in the back and someone was taken to a nearby hospital as they were not sure that there would be enough ambulances for all the victims.
Mexico’s director of North American affairs, Roberto Velasco, said on Twitter that two Mexicans were also injured.
“Sundheim served on the staff of the North Shore Congregation Israel for decades, teaching at the congregation’s preschool and later as events and bunny mitzvah coordinator,” the congregation said in its statement announcing his death, “all this through tireless dedication.” spent together.”
“Jackie’s work, kindness and warmth impressed us all,” the statement said.
26 patients were found after the attack at Northshore University Health Center. Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness, said everyone except one had bullet wounds. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated there were four or five children.
“It is devastating that America’s celebration diverged from our typical American plague,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker told a news conference.
“While we celebrate the Fourth of July only once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”
Since the start of the year, there have been 15 shootings where four or more people have been killed, including one at Highland Park, according to the Associated Press/USA Today/Northeastern University mass killing database.
watch: Senate Judiciary Hearings on Children and Gun Violence with Witnesses from Major Cities
Officials said the shooter opened fire around 10:15 a.m. when the parade was almost three-quarters up.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander at the scene, said the gunman used a “high-powered rifle” to fire from a spot above a commercial building where he was “very difficult to see.” ” He said that the rifle has been recovered from the spot. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rottering told NBC’s “Today” show that she didn’t know where the gun had come from, but it was “legally obtained.”
President Joe Biden said on Monday that he and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has again hurt an American community this Independence Day.”
In recent days, Biden signed the most comprehensive gun violence bill passed by Congress in decades, an agreement that shows both progress and deep-seated partisan divisions at once on a long-standing issue.
Cremo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper named Awake the Rapper, who posted dozens of videos and songs on social media, some ominous and violent.
In an animated video since removed by YouTube, Cremo raps about armies “walking in the dark” as a man points to another figure with a rifle, a body on the ground and hands in the distance. does.
Cremo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Highland Park in 2019, calling himself “a person for the people.”
Highland Park is an intimate community on the shores of Lake Michigan, with mansions and sprawling lakeside estates that have long made the wealthy and sometimes famous, including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for years. when he played for Chicago. Bull. John Hughes filmed parts of several films in the city, including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Sixteen Candles” and “Strange Science”.
Gina Troyani and her son were lined up with their daycare class ready to walk the parade route when she heard a loud sound she believed to be fireworks—until she told people about a shooter. Didn’t hear screaming.
“We just start running in the opposite direction,” she told the Associated Press.
Troyani said she pushed her 5-year-old son’s bike, running from the neighborhood to get back to her car.
“It was just like chaos,” she said. “There were people who were separated from their families, looking for them. Others simply dropped their wagons, grabbed their children and started running. ,
Foodie contributed from Chicago. Associated Press writers Martha Irwin and Mike Householder in Highland Park; Mike Balsamo and Bernard Condon in New York; David Koenig in Dallas; Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia; Fabiola Sanchez in Monterrey, Mexico; and Jim Mustian in New Orleans contributed reporting.