Shooting during 4th of July parade in suburban Chicago; the police respond
By MICHAEL TARM and ROGER SCHNEIDER
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — At least five people have died and 19 have been taken to hospitals after a shooting during a July 4 parade in a suburb of Chicago, and officers are searching for a suspect, the city said. police Monday.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the parade began around 10 a.m., but was suddenly interrupted 10 minutes later after gunfire. A Sun-Times reporter saw blankets placed over three bloodied bodies. Several witnesses told the newspaper that they heard gunshots.
Hundreds of spectators – some visibly bloodied – fled the parade route, leaving behind chairs, strollers and blankets.
The police told people, “Everyone disperse, please. It’s not safe to be here.
Highland Park Police said in a statement early Monday afternoon that five people had been killed and 19 people had been taken to hospital. It was unclear whether the five dead were among the 19 hospitalized.
Police said authorities are still looking for the suspect.
Video shot by a Sun-Times reporter after the gunfire broke out shows a band on a tank continuing to play as people scream past. A photo posted to social media appeared to show pools of blood near overturned chairs in downtown Highland Park.
Gina Troiani and her son were lined up with her daycare class ready to march down the parade route when she heard a loud noise she thought was fireworks – until she heard people screaming about a shooter.
“We just start running in the opposite direction,” she told The Associated Press.
Her 5-year-old son rode his bicycle decorated with red and blue curly 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 parade of bicycles and children’s animals.
Troiani said she pushed her son’s bike, driving through the neighborhood to get back to their car.
In a video Troiani shot on his phone, some of the children are visibly startled by the noise and they rush to the side of the road as a siren wails nearby.
It was just kind of a chaos,” she said. “There were people who were separated from their families, looking for them. Others simply dropped their carts, grabbed their children and started running.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said in a tweet that he was “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park” and that Illinois State Police were assisting. The ISP said in an email it was helping to respond to an active shooter reported around 10:24 a.m.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter that it was assisting Highland Park Police “with a shootout in the Independence Day Parade route area.” The sheriff’s office ordered an AP reporter to contact Highland Park Police. The police department said no one was immediately available for comment.
Highland Park resident Debbie Glickman said she was on a parade float with colleagues and the group was preparing to turn onto the main road when she saw people fleeing the area.
“People started saying, ‘There’s a shooter, there’s a shooter, there’s a shooter,'” Glickman told The Associated Press. “So we just ran. We just ran. It’s like a mass chaos there.
She heard no noise and saw no one who appeared injured.
“I’m so freaked out,” she said. “It’s so sad.”
Associated Press reporter Kathleen Foody contributed from Chicago.