US Parade Shooting: The culprit, identified as Robert Crimo, 22, was taken into custody
Highland Park, United States:
Police detained a suspect Monday after a mass shooting left six dead at a US Independence Day parade in a rich Chicago suburb, casting a sad shadow over the country’s most patriotic festival.
The perpetrator, named as Robert Crimo, 22, was hauled into custody following a large manhunt across the town of Highland Park in Illinois where, just hours earlier, a family-focused July 4 parade celebration had been turned into a scene of death and trauma.
Firing into the holiday crowd from a rooftop with a high-powered rifle, the gunman produced scenes of absolute pandemonium as scared bystanders rushed for their lives, leaving behind a parade path strewn with chairs, abandoned balloons and personal items.
Emergency personnel reported roughly two dozen individuals, including children, were hospitalized for gunshot injuries, with some in severe condition.
The Lake County sheriff’s office claimed Crimo was “in custody.” Earlier, police had warned that he was armed and “very dangerous.” A Chicago musician of the same age and with the same name goes by the stage alias “Awake the Rapper” online.
The shooting is part of a wave of gun violence hitting the United States, where around 40,000 deaths a year are caused by firearms, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
And it threw a pall over America’s Independence Day, in which towns and cities around the country hold similar parades and people — many costumed in variations on the US flag — hold barbecues, attend sporting events and congregate for firework displays.
“We were getting ready to march down the street and then all the sudden waves of these individuals started running after, like running at us. And shortly before it happened, we heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and I assumed it was fireworks,” Emily Prazak, who marched in the procession, told AFP.
– Spectators ‘targeted’ –
Don Johnson, who attended the procession, said he initially believed the gunshots were a car backfiring.
“And then, I heard the cries from a block down and people running and holding their kids and everything, and we fled into the petrol station, and we were in there for three hours,” he told AFP.
“I’ve seen scenarios like this over and over again on the TV and in different places, and didn’t think it was going to happen here ever,” he added.
Police officials stated the shooting began at 10:14 am, when the march was nearly three-quarters of the way through.
“It sounds like spectators were targeted… So, very random, very purposeful and very sad,” said Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesperson Christopher Covelli.
Five of the six victims killed, all adults, had perished at the spot. The sixth was transported to hospital but succumbed to wounds there.
Dr Brigham Temple of Highland Park Hospital, where most of the victims were transported, said that it has received 25 persons with gunshot wounds aged eight to 85.
He added “four or five” children were among them, and that 16 individuals were eventually discharged.
Police claimed the shooter fired a “high-powered rifle,” and “firearm evidence” had been recovered on the rooftop of a nearby company.
“All indications is he was discreet, he was very difficult to see,” added Covelli.
A Mexican was among those dead, Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said.
“We stand with the Chicago community in its anguish and sadness over this tragedy,” he tweeted.
– 309 mass shootings so far –
President Joe Biden shared his horror and vowed to keep fighting “the epidemic of gun violence” sweeping the country.
“I’m not going to give up,” he said.
Last week, Biden signed the first big government bill on gun safety in decades; just days after the Supreme Court determined that Americans have a fundamental right to carry a weapon in public.
The extremely controversial argument over gun control was resurrected by two tragedies in May that saw 10 Black supermarket shoppers murdered down in upstate New York and 21 people, largely young children, slain at an elementary school in Texas.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 309 mass shootings carried out in the US so far in 2022 – including at least three others on July 4, though without any fatalities.
“It is tragic that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our distinctively American plague,” Illinois governor JB Pritzker told reporters Monday.
“A day dedicated to freedom has put into harsh focus the one freedom we as a nation refuse to preserve – the freedom of our fellow citizens to live without the daily threat of gun violence.”