At least six people were reported dead and 24 others were hospitalized after yet another shooting spree in the United States. This time around it was during a 4th of July parade in Illinois.
The perpetrator, reportedly a white male between 18 and 20 years old with long black hair who was wearing a white or blue T-shirt, is said to be at large after opening fire from a rooftop in downtown Highland Park at around 10.10 am local time. Highland Park is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Chicago.
Law enforcement officers retrieved a rifle from the scene, despite which the suspect is believed to be armed and dangerous.
Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force, said at a news conference that the gunman apparently opened fire on parade attendees from a rooftop with a rifle that authorities recovered at the scene. Covelli did not know from which building the shots were fired.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said the shooting has the city of 30,000 people terrified. She added that our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day when we gather to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and fighting the terror that has been thrust upon us, while calling residents to remain calm and on high alert.
Please talk to your loved ones and make sure they are safe and let them know that you are safe too. This situation, as you know, is evolving rapidly and we will continue to report as we get information and stabilize the situation, Rotering said.
Video footage posted on social media shows revelers and parade participants suddenly fleeing in panic as gunfire erupted in the streets: a voice starts shouting gunshots and parade spectators started jumping off the ground. The marching band members start running in the direction of the parade route.
People started saying 'There's a shooter, there's a shooter, there's a shooter,' a witness said. So we just ran. We just ran. It's mass chaos down there.
Illinois State Police, Highland Park Police, and the Lake County Sheriff's Office were deployed in the area.
The Illinois shooting is the most recent gun violence event to hit a community in the United States. It also comes just weeks after 19 students and 2 female teachers were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 black people were killed in a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York.