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Highland Park IL shooting: On July 4, a parade shooting killed 6 and wounded 30; man arrested

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — A gunman fired from a rooftop in suburban Chicago at an Independence Day parade, spraying the crowd with what were initially believed to be fireworks before hundreds of panicked revelers of all ages fled in terror.

At least six people were killed and at least 30 injured.

An hours-long manhunt that saw residents hiding in shops or being escorted to their homes by police ended in a traffic stop and a brief chase Monday night when authorities arrested a man they said was a person of interest.

They did not identify a motive for the attack in Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s North Shore.

The video shows the moment police take into custody a person of interest

The July Fourth shooting was just the latest thing to shake up the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have become killing zones in recent months. This time, the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the ties that still bind it together.

“It definitely hits a lot harder when it’s not only your hometown but also right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday night to get chairs, blankets and a kid’s bike that he had left and his family when the shooting started.

“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said. “We’re not blinking anymore. Until the laws change, it will be more of the same.”

The shooting took place at a point on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime vantage points for the annual celebration earlier in the day.

Among them were the family of Nicolas Toledo, who was in his late 70s and was visiting from Mexico when he was shot. He died at the scene, his granddaughter Xochil Toledo told the Chicago Sun-Times. Also killed was Jacki Sundheim, a lifelong parishioner and “beloved” worker at nearby North Shore Congregation Israel, who announced her death on its website.

Dozens of bullets were fired, sending hundreds of parade-goers fleeing, some visibly bloody. They left a trail of abandoned objects that showed everyday life suddenly and violently interrupted: a box of chocolate chip cookies dumped on the grass; a children’s Chicago Cubs cap; Strollers, some with American flags, and children’s bikes.

“There is no safe place,” said Highland Park resident Barbara Harte, 73, who stayed away from the parade for fear of a mass shooting but later ventured out of her home.

Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer stopped Robert E. Crimo III about 5 miles north of the scene several hours after police released the man’s photo and a picture of his silver Honda Fit, warning the public that he was probably armed and dangerous. Authorities initially said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21.

Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect, but said publicly sharing his name and other information was a serious step in identifying him as a person of interest.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli told a news conference that “several of the deceased victims” died at the scene and one was taken to a hospital and died there.

Police have not released details about the victims, but Toledo’s granddaughter told the Sun-Times that Toledo spent most of his life in Morelos, Mexico. Xochil Toledo said she remembered looking over at her grandfather as a band passed them.

“He was so happy,” she said. “Happy to live in the moment.”

Xochil Toledo said her father tried to shield her grandfather and was shot in the arm; Her boyfriend was also shot in the back and was taken to a nearby hospital by someone because they weren’t sure if there would be enough ambulances for all the victims.

Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director of North American affairs, said on Twitter that two Mexicans were also injured.

Sundheim was a staffer at North Shore Congregation Israel for decades, teaching early in the congregation’s preschool and later serving as its events and b’nei mitzvah coordinator, “all with an unwavering commitment,” the congregation said in its statement on her death.

“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” the statement said.

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed in the parade were adults but had no information on the sixth victim.

The NorthShore University Health Center admitted 26 patients after the attack. All but one had gunshot wounds, said Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated there were four or five children.

“It is devastating that a celebration of America has been torn apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said at a news conference.

“While we only celebrate the Fourth of July once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”

VIDEO: Gov. Pritzker enraged at more innocent lives killed at gunpoint

The gunman opened fire around 10:15 a.m. when the parade was about three-quarters over, authorities said.

Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the scene’s chief of operations, said the shooter appeared to have used a “high power rifle” to fire from a spot on top of a commercial building where he was “very difficult to see”. He said the gun was recovered from the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.

President Joe Biden said Monday that he and First Lady Jill Biden were “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again caused grief to an American community this Independence Day.”

In recent days, Biden signed the most comprehensive gun violence law passed by Congress in decades, a compromise that revealed both progress on a long-stubborn issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists.

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper who posted dozens of videos and songs on social media, some of which were menacing and violent.

In an animated video that has since been removed from YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “walking in the dark” as a drawing of a man aiming a gun appears, a body on the ground and another figure with hands raised in the distance.

In another video, Crimo shows up in a classroom wearing a black bike helmet. He says: “Everything has led to this. Nothing can stop me, not even myself.”

Crimo’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 a tight-knit community on the shores of Lake Michigan, with mansions and sprawling lakefront estates that have long attracted the rich and sometimes famous, including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in town for years while representing Chicago played bulls. John Hughes shot parts of several films in town, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science.

Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his kindergarten class ready to go onto the parade route when she heard a loud noise of what she thought was fireworks – until she heard people shouting over a shooter.

“We just start walking in the opposite direction,” she told the Associated Press.

Troiani said she pushed her 5-year-old son’s bike and ran across the neighborhood to get back to her car.

“It was just kind of a mess,” she said. “There were people who were separated from their families and were looking for them. Others just dropped their cars, grabbed their kids and ran.”

As of July 4, there have been 308 mass shootings in 2022 so far.

The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which four or more are injured or killed, not including the perpetrator, counted 692 mass shootings in 2021, 610 in 2020, and 417 in 2019.

July 4th had the highest number of mass shootings and number of people injured in them of any day in 2021.

On Independence Day there were 11 mass shootings with 51 injured.

July also had the most mass shootings of any month in 2021 at 86, with June having the second highest at 77.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/mass-shooting-illinois-fourth-of-july-highland-park-il-active-shooter/12019932/ Highland Park IL shooting: On July 4, a parade shooting killed 6 and wounded 30; man arrested

Dais Johnston

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