HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — The gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds from an AR-15-style pistol that killed at least seven people, then fired escaped initial capture by dressing as a woman and blending into the fleeing crowd, police said Tuesday.
A Lake County Major Crimes Task Force spokesperson told a news conference that the alleged shooter, who was arrested Monday night, used a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR- 15” to spray bullets from the top of a commercial building into a crowd that had gathered for the parade in Highland Park, a close-knit community on the shores of Lake Michigan that has long attracted the rich and sometimes famous.
More than 30 people were injured in the attack, one of whom died on Tuesday, task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said.
Investigators who interviewed the suspect and reviewed his social media posts did not determine the motive for the attack or find any indication that he was targeting anyone based on race, religion or any other background. other protected status, Covelli said.
The shooter spent several weeks planning the assault, Covelli said.
Authorities have not filed any criminal charges.
Earlier today, FBI agents peered through trash cans and under picnic blankets as they searched for further evidence at the site where the assailant opened fire. The shots were initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of revelers fled in terror.
A day later, strollers, lawn chairs and other items left behind by panicked onlookers remained inside a large police perimeter. Outside the police strip, some residents came to collect blankets and chairs they had abandoned.
David Shapiro, 47, said the gunfire quickly turned the parade into “chaos”.
“People didn’t know right away where the shots were coming from, whether the shooter was in front of you or behind you chasing you,” he said Tuesday as he retrieved a stroller and lawn chairs.
The shoot was just the last to break the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing grounds in recent months. This time the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its foundation and the ties that still hold it together.
“It certainly hits a lot harder when it’s not just your hometown, but it’s right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday night to recuperate. chairs, blankets and a child’s bicycle that his family abandoned when the shooting began.
“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said. “We don’t blink anymore. Until the laws change, it will be more or less the same.
A police officer arrested Robert E. Crimo III north of the scene of the shooting several hours after police released his photo and warned he was likely armed and dangerous, Highland Park Police Chief Lou said. jogmen.
Authorities initially said Crimo, whose father ran for mayor of Highland Park, was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21.
The shooting occurred at a location on the parade route where many residents had staked out vantage points earlier in the day.
Among them was Nicolas Toledo, who was visiting his family in Illinois from Mexico. He was shot and died at the scene, his granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Jacki Sundheim, lifelong devotee and “beloved” staff member of North Shore Congregation Israel, who announced her death on her website, was also killed.
Police have not released details of the victims, but Toledo’s granddaughter told the Sun-Times that Toledo spent most of her life in Morelos, Mexico. Xochil Toledo said she remembered watching her grandfather, who was in his late 70s, as a group walked past them.
“He was so happy,” she said. “Happy to live in the present moment.”
Xochil Toledo said his father tried to protect his grandfather and was shot in the arm. Her boyfriend was also shot in the back and taken to hospital.
Sundheim had spent decades on the staff of North Shore Congregation Israel, teaching at the congregation’s preschool and later coordinating events, “all with tireless dedication,” the congregation said in its statement announcing its dead.
“Jacki’s hard work, kindness and warmth touched us all,” the statement read.
NorthShore University HealthSystem said it treated 39 people at four of its hospitals after the shooting. Nine people, ranging in age from 14 to 70, remain hospitalized on Tuesday. One patient, a 69-year-old man, was in critical condition following a gunshot wound.
Since the start of the year, the United States has seen 15 shootings in which four or more people were killed, including the one in Highland Park, according to the Associated Press Massacre Database/USA TODAY/ Northeastern University.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill said the shooter apparently fired from a rooftop where he was “very hard to see”. He said the rifle was recovered from the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
Covelli said Crimo legally purchased the gun in Illinois within the past year.
In 2013, Highland Park officials approved a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines larger than 10 rounds. A local doctor and the Illinois State Rifle Association quickly challenged the liberal suburban position. The legal battle ended at the gates of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 when the justices refused to hear the case and let suburban restrictions remain in place.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, posting dozens of videos and songs, some disturbing and violent, on social media.
In an animated video since removed by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “marching in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a gun, a body on the ground, and another figure with hands raised in the distance.
Federal agents were reviewing Crimo’s online profiles, and a preliminary review of his internet history indicated he had researched mass murders and uploaded several photos depicting violent acts, including a beheading, said a law enforcement official.
The official could not publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, sought the mayor’s office in 2019, calling himself “a person for the people.”
The community of about 30,000 on Chicago’s affluent North Shore has mansions and sprawling lakeside estates and was once home to NBA legend Michael Jordan.
Shapiro, the Highland Park resident who fled the parade with his family, said his 2-year-old son woke up screaming later that night.
“He is too young to understand what happened. But he knows something bad happened,” Shapiro said. “It’s frightening.”
Foody brought back from Chicago. Thickets reported in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press writers Martha Irvine and Mike Householder in Highland Park; Mike Balsamo and Bernard Condon in New York; David Koenig in Dallas; Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia; Fabiola Sánchez in Monterrey, Mexico; and Jim Mustian in New Orleans contributed.