Highland Park mass shooting: What, where and who?

Six people were killed and 36 wounded when a gunman opened fire on a crowd gathered for parade in Chicago suburb.

July fourth shooting
Community members visit the the site of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade route in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois [File: Cheney Orr/Reuters]

A gunman has opened fire on a crowd gathered for an Independence Day parade outside of Chicago, killing at least six people and wounding 36 in the latest mass shooting in the United States.

Here is what we know.

What happened?

  • A shooter opened fire on a crowd gathered to watch an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park at 10:15am on Monday, sending revellers fleeing in terror, authorities said.
  • The gunman apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to fire dozens of rounds from a perch atop a commercial building where he was “very difficult to see”, said Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill.
  • Six people were killed in the shooting, with at least 36 others wounded. “Several” of the victims died at the scene, and the targets appeared to be “random”, according to Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli.
  • The NorthShore University Health Center received 26 patients after the attack, with all but one suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Dr Brigham Temple, medical director of emergency preparedness. He estimated at least four of those treated at the hospital were children.
  • In the wake of the attack, lawn chairs, strollers and bags of snacks littered the crime scene, where hours earlier families had staked out prime viewing places to watch the festivities.
  • A massive manhunt followed the attack, with police releasing a photo of a “person of interest” and his Honda Fit car. They warned he was likely armed and dangerous.
  • A rifle was recovered at the scene, although details of the weapon were not immediately released.

Who is the person of interest?

  • Hours after the attack and about 8km (five miles) away, a police officer pulled over the named person of interest, 21-year-old Robert E Crimo III.
  • Dozens of police also surrounded his home in Highland Park.
  • Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper and has posted on social media dozens of videos and songs, some violent and depicting gun violence.
  • Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Highland Park in 2019.
  • Crimo was not immediately charged.

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What is known about the victims?

  • Details of some the those killed have begun to emerge
  • Nicolas Toledo, a man in his late 70s, was the first victim identified as of late Monday by his family. He was in a wheelchair and had not wanted to attend the parade, his family said in a statement to local media. But he required full-time care and his family said they had not wanted to miss the event.
  • “My grandfather Nicolas Toledo father of 8 and grandfather to many left us this morning July 4th, what was supposed to be a fun family day turned into a horrific nightmare for us all,” his granddaughter Xochil Toledo said in a statement shared by the family on social media.
  • Jacki Sundheim, a teacher at a local synagogue in Highland Park, was confirmed as another victim by The North Shore Congregation Israel, in an email to congregants.
  • “There are no words sufficient to express the depth of our grief for Jacki’s death and sympathy for her family and loved ones,” the synagogue said.
  • A third person killed was a Mexican national, Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North American affairs, said on Twitter on Monday. He said two other Mexicans were wounded.
  • Authorities have not released the ages of the dead, but health workers have said the wounded ranged in age from eight to 85.

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(Al Jazeera)

Where is Highland Park?

  • Highland Park is located about 40km (25 miles) north of central Chicago. It is a generally wealthy community of about 30,000 people.
  • Its mansions and sprawling lakeside estates have long drawn the rich and sometimes famous, including basketball legend Michael Jordan, who lived in the city for years when he played for the Chicago Bulls.
  • Film director John Hughes shot parts of several movies in the city, including Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Sixteen Candles and Weird Science.

Chicago map

What has the response been?

  • The attack is the latest in a string of high-profile mass shootings in the US, following, among others, a racist attack at a grocery store in a Black community in Buffalo, New York that killed 10 people; and a massacre at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two teachers were shot dead.
  • There have been 313 mass shootings in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Meanwhile, the FBI recorded 61 “active shooter” events – defined by someone killing or attempting to kill people in a public space in a seemingly random fashion – in 2021, the highest ever on record.

  • President Joe Biden, who recently signed a narrow, though nonetheless the most substantial federal gun control bill into law, said on Monday 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”.

  • Illinois Governor JB 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.”
  • In a tweet, Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, noted that while Chicago has some of the stricter gun control laws in the country, it borders Indiana, which has some of the most lax: “America’s gun laws are weak at the federal level and even strong state laws are weak compared to peer nations’ laws,” she wrote.
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Source: Al Jazeera