Six people were killed and at least 24 wounded after gunfire erupted at a Fourth of July parade in a Chicago suburb today, authorities said.
A gunman began firing from the roof of a retail store into the parade below just minutes after the celebrations began, as per local reports.
A video on social media shows parade participants suddenly fleeing in panic as shots were fired in the streets of Highland Park, an affluent suburban city. Families are seen sitting on a sidewalk watching the parade. In the next frame, they are seen leaping up from the ground and running, a voice yelling “gunshots” can be heard in the background.
The moment the crowd realized there had been mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, at their fourth of July parade. Unfortunately there’s nothing more American than this tragedy. pic.twitter.com/beXt9uYP3F
— Read Wobblies and Zapatistas (@JoshuaPotash) July 4, 2022
“At this time, two dozen people have been transported to Highland Park hospital. Six are confirmed deceased,” Commander Chris O’Neil of the city’s police said.
The suspected shooter, who is still at large, has been described as a white male aged 18-20 with longer black hair, he said.
The city of Highland Park announced that all July 4 festivities had been canceled as a result. “Highland Park Police are responding to an incident in downtown Highland Park. All 4th of July events have been canceled. Please avoid downtown Highland Park. Take shelter if in downtown HP. More information will be shared as it becomes available,” its post on Facebook read.
Firearms cause approximately 40,000 deaths a year in the United States, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.
The debate over gun control — a deeply divisive issue in the country — was reignited by two massacres in May that saw 10 Black supermarket shoppers gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, killed at an elementary school in Texas.
Congress passed the first significant bill on gun safety in decades in the wake of those killings. President Joe Biden signed it into law in late June, saying that while it falls short of what is really needed, it will still save lives.
With inputs from AFP.