Filming in Highland Park, about 25 miles north of Chicago, began shortly after 10 a.m. as parade-goers enjoyed a sunny Fourth of July parade along Central Avenue.
On Monday night, Highland Park Police Lou Jogmen identified 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III as a person of interest in connection with the shooting.
He is believed to be driving a silver 2010 Honda Fit with Illinois license plate DM80653.
Authorities did not specify why Crimo is a person of interest, but said he was armed and dangerous.
Evidence of firearms was found on the roof of a nearby business, police commander Chris O’Neill said. The shooter used a ladder attached to the building on a wall in an alley to access the roof, said Christopher Covelli, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
The weapon was a “high powered rifle” and the attack appeared to be “random” and “intentional”, Covelli said.
Authorities are working to trace the firearm to find out who bought it and its origins, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesperson Kim Nerheim.
The suspect was described as a white male between the ages of 18 and 20 with a small build, long dark hair and wearing a T-shirt. It was described as “armed and dangerous” and officials advised people to shelter in place.
Covelli told reporters that SWAT members and other officers evacuated people from buildings within a radius of the shooting.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said all five people who died at the scene were adults. One person died in a hospital, she said, but she had no more information about that victim.
Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said his department transported 23 people to hospitals and other victims were taken in police cruisers or bystanders’ personal vehicles.
A total of 26 patients were seen at Highland Park Hospital, according to Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of NorthShore University Health System. The patients ranged in age from 8 to 85 – four or five were children, according to Temple.
He said 19 of the 25 gunshot victims were treated and released. There were gunshot wounds to the extremities as well as more central parts of the bodies, he added.
Zoe Pawelczak, who attended the Independence Day parade with her father, said parade goers at first thought the array of pops were fireworks for the occasion.
“And I was like something was wrong. I grabbed my dad and started running. All of a sudden everyone behind us started running,” he said. she declared. “I looked back probably 20 feet from me. I saw a girl shot and killed.”
They hid behind a dumpster for about an hour until police took them to a sporting goods store and then eventually walked them back to their car, she said. She saw a person who had been shot in the ear and had blood all over her face and another girl who had been shot in the leg, she said.
“It looked like a combat zone, and it’s disgusting. It’s really disgusting,” she said.
There were 11 mass shootings in the first four days of July, including three on July 4 alone, in Richmond, Virginia; Chicago and Highland Park, according to Gun Violence Archive.
In the wake of these massacres, President Joe Biden just nine days ago signed into law the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades, marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough on one of the political issues most controversial in Washington.
Witnesses say gunfire caused a stampede
Witnesses at the scene who spoke to CNN described a peaceful parade punctured by the sudden ring of gunfire and the ensuing chaos.
Miles Zaremski said he heard what he thought was about 20 to 30 gunshots, in two consecutive bursts of gunfire, around 10:20 a.m. CT, shortly after the parade began. He told CNN he saw a number of people bleeding and on the ground and described the scene as chaotic.
Video taken by witness Hugo Aguilera shows an ambulance turning on the parade route and a police car with sirens on, as people gathered on the grassy sidewalk. Aerial video from CNN affiliate WLS shows abandoned lawn chairs along the parade route amid a heavy police presence.
Warren Fried, who attended the parade with his wife and 7-year-old twins, said he saw police and ambulance pass by him during the parade and then heard a series of gunshots. People started shouting “shooter” and “run” and he and his family fled to their car to safety.
“People were hiding, children were on the streets looking for their parents, just in shock,” he said.
U.S. Representative Brad Schneider, a Democrat who represents the area, told CNN he had just arrived in Highland Park when the shots were fired and was told to detour.
“Everyone scattered and ran. As I was walking I encountered a group of young children trying to call their parents to say they were fine,” he said. “So I stopped and offered to use my phone. There were a lot of moving cars, so I helped direct traffic a bit.”
Jeff Leon, 57, told CNN the shots sounded like ‘firecrackers in a trash can’ and it wasn’t until he saw police responding that he knew something had happened. past.
“The police started responding and I saw people falling,” Leon said. “We just took off. And, you know, we were hiding behind cars, ducking into the next car and making our way.”
Jose Alamar, an employee of a nearby gas station, said about 20 people rushed into the gas station and took shelter after the shooting began.
The Chicago White Sox will hold a moment of silence before their home game but have canceled their postgame fireworks display.
CNN’s Joe Sutton, Chuck Johnston, Caroll Alvarado, Dakin Andone, Victor Blackwell, Sara Weisfeldt, Melissa Alonso, Michelle Krupa, Mark Morales, Linh Tran and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.