At least six people are dead and about three dozen others injured after a gunman opened fire on a Chicago-area July 4 parade from a rooftop, according to officials. Participants and attendees raced for cover in what police say appeared to be a “random” attack on the Highland Park parade.
After a massive manhunt that lasted through the afternoon, police took 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III into custody about five miles north of the scene. An officer spotted who authorities described as a “person of interest” and he was apprehended after a brief pursuit.
Police say Crimo is from the area. A social media search appeared to show he made several rap songs under the name “Awake The Rapper.” One video reportedly showed a figure holding a gun on another figure who was on the ground.
There is limited information on victims, but the New York Times named one as 76-year-old Nicolas Toledo, who was wheelchair-bound. A senior Mexican Foreign Ministry official said one victim was a Mexican national.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli told reporters that several victims died on the parade route while another died at the hospital.
Authorities said a “high-powered rifle” was recovered from the rooftop of a business along the parade route. Police say the location where the suspect apparently fired from was “discrete and difficult to see.”
Some reports say he fired from the roof of a outdoor outfitters store.
Many witnesses said their initial thought was that fireworks associated with the celebration were going off. One reported thinking someone had lit “firecrackers in a garbage can.”
A spokesperson reported 31 people were transported to two local hospitals, most with gunshot wounds and some with injuries from the ensuing chaos. Video footage from the parade route showed abandoned baby strollers, chairs, U.S. flags, and bicycles among other items.
Several nearby suburban cities cancelled their scheduled July 4 parades and fireworks shows.
President Joe Biden said he and his wife Jill were stunned by the “senseless gun violence” that struck yet another community on July 4. The president offered federal support in response to the mass shooting and called for more work to be done on gun control.