Six people were killed and 24 hospitalized in a shooting at a suburban Chicago Fourth of July parade Monday and a search was underway for the shooter, authorities said.
The suspect was described as a white male about 18-20 years old, Commander Chris O’Neill of Highland Park Police Department said at a briefing.
Christopher Covelli, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, said the gunman apparently opened fire from a rooftop using a rifle that was recovered at the scene. He didn’t know which building.
The first shots rang out about 10 minutes after the parade began at 10 a.m., sending hundreds of people fleeing and caused the event to abruptly end in panic.
Authorities urged people to continue to "shelter in place," as the gunman remained at large.
"Numerous law enforcement officers are responding and have secured a perimeter around downtown Highland Park," the statement said.
The Chicago Tribune said that Gov. J.B. Pritzker had been attending the parade and said nine people were shot.
Pritzker later tweeted that he was “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park” and that Illinois State Police are assisting.
A Sun-Times reporter saw three bloodied bodies covered with blankets and said five other people were wounded and bloodied near the parade’s reviewing stand.
Several witnesses said they heard multiple shots fired, the Sun-Times reported. One witness said he counted more than 20 shots.
“I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.” This photo shows empty chairs abandoned on the parade route,” Miles Zaremski, a Highland Park resident, told the Sun-Times
“Zaremski said that after the shots at Central Avenue around Second Avenue, he saw ‘people in that area that got shot,” including “a woman covered with blood . . . She did not survive," the newspaper tweeted..
Parade-goers left behind chairs, baby strollers, and blankets as they sought cover. A klezmer band, seemingly unaware of the gunfire, continued to play.
Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float with coworkers and the group was prepared to turn onto the main route when she saw people running away from the area.
“People started saying ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there a shooter,’” Glickman told the Associated Press. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”
Police were patrolling the area with rifles, apparently looking for whoever fired the shots.
The city of Highland Park also urged people to avoid the area, NBC 5 reported.
"Highland Park Police are responding to an incident in downtown Highland Park. All 4th of July events have been canceled. Please avoid downtown Highland Park. Take shelter if in downtown HP. More information will be shared as it becomes available,” the town posted on Facebook.
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