Sen. Tammy Duckworth Says Gunfire at Highland Park Parade Sounded Like Combat in Iraq

·2 min read
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Senator Tammy Duckworth

Sarah Silbiger/Getty Sen. Tammy Duckworth

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth is a Purple Heart recipient and veteran of the Iraq War. While addressing reporters Monday after a gunman killed six and injured dozens more at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, she said hearing the gunfire in video of the shooting reminded her of being in a war zone.

"The last time I heard a weapon of that capacity firing that rapidly on the 4th of July was Iraq," Duckworth, 54, said at a press conference. "It was not the United States of America."

Hundreds of people celebrating Independence Day in Highland Park's central business district ran for their lives — leaving behind chairs, blankets, and even baby strollers — when shots rang out from a rooftop Monday.

RELATED: Dad Recalls Escape From Highland Park Parade Shooter: 'I Was Staring at This Guy Shooting at Me'

Audio of the shooting was posted on Twitter.

Police said a high-powered rifle was found at the scene and that a person of interest has been detained in connection with the mass shooting.

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Duckworth said she woke Monday expecting to celebrate "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" but ended up addressing the tragedy that took six lives and wounded at least 24.

RELATED: Grandfather, 76, Identified as Victim of July 4 Parade Shooting: He 'Saved All Our Lives'

"Those six families no longer have that opportunity," she said. "My heart goes out to those families who will never see their loved ones again."

In 2004, Duckworth, then 36, was flying a Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq when it was hit with a rocket-propelled grenade and crashed. She lost both her legs and partial use of her right arm in the attack.

tammy duckworth
tammy duckworth

Duckworth Family Photo Tammy Duckworth in flight school

She praised the passage last month of legislation addressing gun safety as evidence that "bipartisan compromise" is possible.

"Today we have seen that we can't just stop there," she said. "We have to do more to keep our communities safe. We have to get rid of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and so many additional common-sense reforms that wide majorities of Americans are crying out for."

"We can, we should and we must do better," she added.

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