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6 Dead, 30 Hurt in Shooting   07/05 06:32

   A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban 
Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people, wounding at least 30 and 
sending hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles 
fleeing in terror, police said.

   HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) -- A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an 
Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six 
people, wounding at least 30 and sending hundreds of marchers, parents with 
strollers and children on bicycles fleeing in terror, police said.

   Authorities said a man named as a person of interest in the shooting was 
taken into police custody Monday evening after an hours-long manhunt in and 
around Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago's north 
shore.

   The July 4 shooting was just the latest to shatter 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 cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still 
hold it together.

   "It definitely hits a lot harder when it's not only your hometown but it's 
also right in front of you," resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a friend 
returned to the parade route Monday evening to retrieve chairs, blankets and a 
child's bike that he and his family abandoned when the shooting began.

   "It's commonplace now," Tuazon said of what he called yet another American 
atrocity. "We don't blink anymore. Until laws change, it's going to be more of 
the same."

   The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had 
staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration. 
Dozens of fired bullets sent hundreds of parade-goers -- some visibly bloodied 
-- fleeing. They left a trail of abandoned items that showed everyday life 
suddenly, violently disrupted: A half-eaten bag of potato chips; a box of 
chocolate cookies spilled onto the grass; a child's Chicago Cubs cap.

   "There's no safe place," said Highland Park resident Barbara Harte, 73, who 
had stayed away from the parade fearing a mass shooting, but later ventured 
from her home.

   Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over 
Robert E. Crimo III about five miles north of the shooting scene, several hours 
after police released the man's photo and an image of his silver Honda Fit, and 
warned the public that he was likely armed and dangerous. Authorities initially 
said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo's social media said he was 21.

   Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect but said 
identifying him as a person of interest, sharing his name and other information 
publicly was a serious step.

   Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a 
news conference "several of the deceased victims" died at the scene and one was 
taken to a hospital and died there. Police have not released details about the 
victims or wounded.

   Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed at the parade 
were adults, but didn't have information on the sixth victim who was taken to a 
hospital and died there. One of those killed was a Mexican national, Roberto 
Velasco, Mexico's director for North American affairs, said on Twitter Monday. 
He said two other Mexicans were wounded.

   NorthShore University Health Center received 26 patients after the attack. 
All but one had gunshot wounds, said Dr. Brigham Temple, medical director of 
emergency preparedness. Their ages ranged from 8 to 85, and Temple estimated 
that four or five patients were children.

   Temple said 19 of them were treated and discharged. Others were transferred 
to other hospitals, while two patients, in stable condition, remained at the 
Highland Park hospital.

   "It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our 
uniquely American plague," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news 
conference.

   "I'm furious because it does not have to be this way... while we celebrate 
the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become a weekly -- 
yes, weekly -- American tradition."

   The shooter opened fire around 10:15 a.m., when the parade was about 
three-quarters through, authorities said.

   Highland Park Police Commander Chris O'Neill, the incident commander on 
scene, said the gunman apparently used a "high-powered rifle" to fire from a 
spot atop a commercial building where he was "very difficult to see." He said 
the rifle was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to 
the building.

   "Very random, very intentional and a very sad day," Covelli said.

   President Joe Biden on Monday said he and first lady Jill Biden were 
"shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an 
American community on this Independence Day."

   Biden signed the widest-ranging gun violence bill passed by Congress in 
decades, a compromise that showed at once both progress on a long-intractable 
issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists.

   As a word of an arrest spread, residents who had hunkered in homes began 
venturing outside, some walking toward where the shooting occurred. Several 
people stood and stared at the scene, with abandoned picnic blankets, hundreds 
of lawn chairs and backpacks still where they were when the shooting began.

   Police believe there was only one shooter but warned that he should still be 
considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby cities canceled events including 
parades and fireworks, some of them noting that the Highland Park shooter was 
still at large. The Chicago White Sox also announced on Twitter that a planned 
post-game fireworks show is canceled due to the shooting.

   More than 100 law enforcement officers were called to the parade scene or 
dispatched to find the suspected shooter.

   More than a dozen police officers on Monday surrounded a home listed as an 
address for Crimo in Highland Park. Some officers held rifles as they fixed 
their eyes on the home. Police blockaded roads leading to the home in a 
tree-lined neighborhood near a golf course, allowing only select law 
enforcement cars through a tight outer perimeter.

   Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage 
name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens videos and songs, some 
ominous and violent.

   In one animated video since taken down by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies 
"walking in darkness" as a drawing appears of a man pointing a rifle, a body on 
the ground and another figure with hands up in the distance. A later frame 
shows a close-up of a chest with blood pouring out and another of police cars 
arriving as the shooter holds his hands up.

   In another video, in which Crimo appears in a classroom wearing a black 
bicycle helmet, he says he is "like a sleepwalker... I know what I have to do," 
then adds, "Everything has led up to this. Nothing can stop me, even myself."

   Crimo's father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of 
Highland Park in 2019, calling himself "a person for the people."

   Highland Park is a close-knit community of about 30,000 people located on 
the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, with mansions and sprawling 
lakeside estates that have long drawn the rich and sometimes famous, including 
NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for years when he played for 
the Chicago Bulls. John Hughes filmed parts of several movies in the city, 
including "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Sixteen Candles" and "Weird Science."

   Ominous signs of a joyous event suddenly turned to horror filled both sides 
of Central Avenue where the shooting occurred. Dozens of baby strollers -- some 
bearing American flags, abandoned children's bikes and a helmet bedecked with 
images of Cinderella were left behind. Blankets, lawn chairs, coffees and water 
bottles were knocked over as people fled.

   Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with his daycare class ready to walk 
onto the parade route when she heard a loud sound that she believed was 
fireworks -- until she heard people yell about a shooter. In a video that 
Troiani shot on her phone, some of the kids are visibly startled at the loud 
noise, and they scramble to the side of the road as a siren wails nearby.

   "We just start running in the opposite direction," she told The Associated 
Press.

   Her 5-year-old son was riding his bike decorated with red and blue curled 
ribbons. He and other children in the group held small American flags. The city 
said on its website that the festivities were to include a children's bike and 
pet parade.

   Troiani said she pushed her son's bike, running through the neighborhood to 
get back to their car.

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

   Debbie Glickman, a Highland Park resident, said she was on a parade float 
with coworkers 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's a 
shooter,'" Glickman told the AP. "So we just ran. We just ran. It's like mass 
chaos down there."

   She didn't hear any noises or see anyone who appeared to be injured.

   "I'm so freaked out," she said. "It's just so sad."

 
 
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