Pritzker: ‘There are no words’ after Highland Park parade shooting

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker released the following statement after the shooting in Highland Park during a Fourth of July parade: 

Today, I ask all Illinoisans to pray for the families who have been devastated by the evil unleashed this morning in Highland Park, for those who have lost loved ones and for those who have been injured. I also ask that we all pray for our first responders at all levels of government who are actively working to bring the suspect into custody, and whose bravery undoubtedly saved innocent lives on the scene.



Pritzker 



Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP


There are no words for the kind of monster who lies in wait and fires 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 futures. There are no words I can offer to lift the pain of those they leave behind. Please know that our state grieves with you, that MK and I grieve with you.

But grief will not bring the victims back, and prayers alone will not put a stop to the terror of rampant gun violence in our country.

I will stand firm with Illinoisans and Americans: we must – and we will – end this plague of gun violence.

Here’s the latest on the shooting, from The Associated Press: 

At least six people died and 24 were wounded in a shooting at a July Fourth parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, and officers are searching for a suspect who likely fired on the festivities from a rooftop, police said Monday.

Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander on scene, urged people to shelter in place as authorities search for the suspect, described as a white male wearing a white or blue T-shirt.

Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference that the gunman apparently opened fire on parade-goers from a rooftop using a rifle that was recovered at the scene. He didn’t know which building.



Empty chairs sit along the sidewalk after parade-goers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired Monday.  



TYLER PASCIAK LARIVIERE, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES VIA AP


Covelli said police believe there was only one shooter and warned that he should still be considered armed and dangerous. He and O’Neill described the shooting as random.

Police have not released any details about the victims or wounded.

“This morning at 10:14, our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core,” Mayor Nancy Rotering said at the news conference. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”

Hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fled the parade route after shots rang out, leaving their belongings behind. As of early afternoon, ominous signs of a joyous event suddenly turned to horror filled both sides of Central Street where the shooting occurred. Dozens of baby cartridges, some bearing American flags, abandoned children’s bikes, a helmet bedecked with images of Cinderella were left behind in their haste. Blankets, lawn chairs, coffees and water bottles were knocked over as people fled.

Police armed, some in camouflage gear and many clutching AR-style weapons continued to pour into the area.



Police from several local municipalities including the Illinois State Police search downtown Highland Park after the mass shooting at the Fourth of July parade Monday in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. 



TYLER PASCIAK LARIVIERE, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES VIA AP


Highland Park Police initially said in a statement early Monday afternoon that five people had been killed and 19 people were taken to hospitals. but those numbers were revised soon after at the news conference.

Video shot by a Sun-Times journalist after the gunfire rang out shows a band on a float continuing to play as people run past, screaming.

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.

“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 it’s 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.

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.

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.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a tweet that he is “closely monitoring the situation in Highland Park.”



Police from several local municipalities including the Illinois State Police search downtown Highland Park after a shooting where multiple people were shot and other injured at the Fourth of July parade Monday in a suburb of Chicago. 



TYLER PASCIAK LARIVIERE, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES VIA AP


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 Associated Press. “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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July 4, 2022 at 02:28PM

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