Nam Y. Huh/AP
Authorities say a person of interest in the July 4 mass shooting has been taken into custody.
Robert E. Crimo III was seen driving a silver Honda Fit on the north side of Chicago hours after the attack. When an officer tried to “initiate a traffic stop,” the 22-year-old attempted to flee, Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said at a briefing Monday night.
“There was a short chase” but eventually Crimo turned himself in, Jogmen said, adding that he was “taken into custody without incident.”
Jogmen said the investigation is moving quickly, noting that department investigators will question Crimo “to make sure or see if he is, in fact, related to this incident.”
When pressed, Jogmen refused to call Crimo a suspect at this stage of the investigation. The police chief said more information was needed to link him to the shooting that left six dead and dozens injured.
Five of the six victims in the attack were adults who died at the scene, Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said at an earlier briefing. All five have been identified and the families are now being notified.
The sixth victim died at a local hospital. No additional information provided.
Highland Park Fire Chief Joe Schrage said a seriously injured boy is among about two dozen people taken to local hospitals. Some of the injuries include gunshot wounds to the abdomen and extremities.
NPR member station WBEZ reported the “vast majority” of the injured are being treated for gunshot wounds. Some also “sustained injuries as a result of the chaos that followed the parade.”
Schrage said crews on scene responded quickly as did witnesses who helped tie turnstiles.
The shooter fired into the crowd from a rooftop.
Authorities currently have no reason to believe there was more than one shooter, according to Sgt. Christopher Covelli of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
The shooter used a high-powered rifle, which is now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was on the roof of a business. They allegedly accessed the roof through an alley using a ladder that was attached to the building and was not secured.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill said the crime scene is still active and officers are cleaning up buildings in the area. People who sheltered in place are being evacuated to a safe location.
Witnesses describe chaos, panic and disbelief
Miles Zaremski told NPR that when he first heard the shots, he mistook them for fireworks or fireworks.
“And then all of a sudden the crowd … started running in a stampede,” he said.
“And then I cautiously moved forward a little bit and all of a sudden I saw blood on the cement. And I saw people in pools of blood … and I knew there was a mass shooting.”
Zaremski said he rushed to help but was quickly pushed away by police and emergency services, arriving on the scene within moments.
“I saw the carnage and almost collapsed,” he said, shocked by the events.
Zaremski has lived in Highland Park since 1976, describing it as a loving and peaceful community at odds with the chaos it experienced.
“It’s surreal. It must have been a sci-fi movie I just saw, but unfortunately it wasn’t,” he said. “Our country is a scary place.”
The shooting was fast and fierce.
O’Neill said the shooter began shooting around 10:14 a.m. local time. It is not clear how many shots were fired, but several witnesses reported hearing around 20 rounds or more.
The incident happened very quickly, and police and fire units were already on the scene due to the parade. O’Neill added that the department has been trained in rapid deployment, rapid response and delivery of aid.
President Biden says he and the first lady are “shocked”
President Joe Biden, who less than 10 days ago signed a bipartisan bill on gun safety, issued a statement hours after the attack.
“Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has once again brought pain to an American community on this Independence Day.”
He noted that the new law “includes actions that will save lives.”
The measure is the first gun reform legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years and was signed about a month after two other mass shootings rocked the nation.
Illinois governor calls shooter a ‘freak’
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker called for prayer in the wake of “the evil unleashed this morning,” but added that prayers alone would not address the problem of gun violence in the country.
“There are no words for the kind of monster that stalks and shoots into a crowd of families with children celebrating a holiday with their community. There are no words for the kind of evil that robs our neighbors of their hopes, their dreams, their future.” “, Pritzker said in a statement.
“We must, and will, end this plague of gun violence.”
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said: “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day when we come together to celebrate community and freedom, we mourn the tragic loss of life. and fighting terror. that was brought upon us.”
This is breaking news. Some things reported by the media will later turn out to be wrong. We will focus on reports from officials and other authorities, credible media outlets, and on-the-spot reporters. We will update as the situation develops.