Chicago shooting: Person of interest in custody after six dead in July 4 parade attack

·4 min read
Police at the scene of the shooting - WLS-TV/ABC7/via Reuters
Police at the scene of the shooting - WLS-TV/ABC7/via Reuters

A person of interest has been arrested after six people were killed in a July 4 parade shooting in Chicago, shattering Independence Day celebrations.

Police confirmed Robert E “Bobby” Crimo III, 22, had been "taken into custody without incident" on Monday evening after an hour-long manhunt.

Authorities said the man was spotted driving on a highway outside Chicago and then stopped by police following a brief chase.

Mr Crimo remains in custody at the Highland Park Police Department.

Robert E “Bobby” Crimo lll, who police have named as a person of interest in the shooting - Supplied
Robert E “Bobby” Crimo lll, who police have named as a person of interest in the shooting - Supplied

The attack left around 30 people injured as parade-goers scattered in panic when a gunman allegedly opened fire from a rooftop about three-quarters of the way through the event, about 10.15am local time.

Bloodied parade-goers fled in panic, leaving blankets, water bottles, coffee cups and parade paraphernalia strewn on the streets of Highland Park.

Baby strollers adorned with American flags were abandoned as parents sought safety where they could.

Some revellers sought refuge in a filling station, while others cowered behind skips and beneath cars.

One man put his child in a skip in the hope of keeping the infant out of the line of fire.

It was the third mass shooting in the US in a month and a half, following the killing of 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York and the shooting of 19 children and two teachers at a school in in Uvalde, Texas.

The identities of the Chicago victims were unknown on Monday night, but they were all adults.

Five of the six people died at the scene, while the sixth person later died in hospital as a result of their injuries.

Those injured were aged between eight and 85, with "four or five" being children, said Dr Brigham Temple of the NorthShore Health System, the nearest hospital to the shooting.

Nancy Rotering, the mayor of Highland Park, said: “On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”

Joe Biden, the US president, who recently signed the first bipartisan gun control bill in nearly 30 years, said he was “shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day”.

Mr Biden did not expand on his remarks in his White House address marking Independence Day.

Highland Park, which has a population of 30,000, had planned to hold a bike and pet parade to mark the most important public holiday in the US.

Gina Troiani’s five-year-old son had decorated his bike with patriotic bunting as he and other children from his nursery looked forward to enjoying the festivities. Ms Troiani and her child rushed back to their car as gunfire rang out.

“It was just sort of chaos,” she said. “There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just grabbed their kids and started running.”

Emergency services rushed to the scene, treating some victims on the spot while others were taken to local hospitals. Witnesses reported hearing at least 20 shots as police pleaded with people to disperse. Around 20 people rushed into a filling station for cover.

The gunfire stopped around the time police officers reached the shooting scene, a spokesman said, adding: “All indications is he was discreet and very difficult to see.”

Lisa Schulkin told local news station WGN9: “All of a sudden you just heard the gunshots, multiple and quick in a row, and then masses, masses of people running. The streets were just filled with people running, kids crying.” She and others at the scene hid under a car.

Law enforcement officers prepare to search a building in the aftermath of the shooting - Nam Y Huh/AP Photo
Law enforcement officers prepare to search a building in the aftermath of the shooting - Nam Y Huh/AP Photo
Police at the scene of the mass shooting in Highland Park - Jim Vondruska/Getty Images
Police at the scene of the mass shooting in Highland Park - Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Miles Zaremski, 73, a Highland Park resident, who was about a block away from the parade, said the gunshots came from an automatic rifle.

“I was in the service a long time ago, so I know what that sound produces,” he said.

“All of a sudden there was a stampede of the crowd, who were attending on either side of the street. So I kind of gingerly walked up, and all of a sudden, I saw people bloodied. I have never seen anything like it – it was chaos.”

Debbie Glickman, a resident, said she was on a parade float with co-workers and the group was preparing to turn onto the main route when she saw people running from the area.

“People started saying: ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there a shooter’,” she told the Associated Press. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like mass chaos down there.”

Christopher Covelli, the Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman, said the shooting from the rooftop appeared to be random.

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