US Politics

Police arrest a suspect after a gunman killed six in the July 4 US parade

#Police #arrest #suspect #gunman #killed #July #parade

Police arrested a suspect Monday after a mass shooting at a US Independence Day parade in an affluent Chicago suburb left six dead and cast a dark shadow over the country’s most patriotic holiday.

The suspect, identified as Robert Crimo, 22, was taken into custody following a massive manhunt in the Illinois town of Highland Park, where just hours earlier a family-oriented July Fourth parade celebration had been turned into a scene of death and trauma.

The gunman fired a high-powered rifle at the holiday crowd from a rooftop, sparking scenes of total chaos as panicked spectators ran for their lives, leaving a parade route littered with chairs, abandoned balloons and personal belongings.

Emergency officials said around two dozen people, including children, were being treated for gunshot wounds, some of whom were in critical condition.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Crimo is “in custody.” Police had previously warned that he was armed and “very dangerous”. A Chicago musician of the same age performs online under the stage name “Awake the Rapper”.

The shooting is part of a wave of gun violence sweeping the United States, which accounts for about 40,000 gun deaths annually, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

And it cast a shadow over America’s Independence Day, when cities across the country hold similar parades and people — many dressed in variations of the US flag — throw barbecues, participate in sporting events and gather for fireworks.

“We got ready to march down the street and then all the sudden waves of these people ran after us like they were running towards us. And right before that happened, we heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, and I thought it was fireworks,” Emily Prazak, who attended the parade, told AFP.

– Spectators ‘targeted’ –

Don Johnson, who attended the parade, said he initially thought the gunfire was a car backfire.

“And finally I heard the screams from a block down and people running and carrying their kids and everything and we ran into the gas station and we were in there for three hours,” he told AFP.

“I’ve seen scenes like this over and over again on TV and in different communities and didn’t think anything like this would ever happen here,” he said.

Police officials said the shooting began at 10:14 a.m., when the parade was about three-quarters of the way through.

“It sounds like bystanders were being attacked … So very indiscriminately, very deliberately and very sadly,” said Christopher Covelli, spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force.

Five of the six people killed, all adults, had died at the scene. The sixth was taken to the hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

dr Brigham Temple of Highland Park Hospital, where most of the victims were taken, said it took in 25 people with gunshot wounds ranging in age from eight to 85.

He said “four or five” children were among them and 16 people were later released.

Police said the gunman used a “high-powered rifle” and “evidence of firearms” was found on the roof of a nearby shop.

“Everything indicates that he was discreet, he was very difficult to see,” said Covelli.

A Mexican was among the dead, said Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.

“We stand with the Chicago community in their pain and sadness at this tragedy,” he tweeted.

– So far 309 mass shootings –

President Joe Biden expressed his shock and vowed to keep fighting “the epidemic of gun violence” sweeping the country.

“I won’t give up,” he said.

Last week, Biden signed the first major federal gun safety law in decades, just days after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a basic right to carry a handgun in public.

The deeply divisive debate over gun control was reignited by two massacres in May, in which 10 black supermarket shoppers were gunned down in upstate New York and 21 people, mostly young children, were murdered at a Texas elementary school.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, 309 mass shootings have been carried out in the US so far in 2022 — including at least three more on July 4, but no fatalities.

“It is devastating that a celebration of America has been torn apart by our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker told reporters Monday.

“A day dedicated to freedom has highlighted the one freedom we as a nation do not wish to uphold – the freedom of our fellow citizens to live free from the daily fear of gun violence.”

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#Police #arrest #suspect #gunman #killed #July #parade

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