Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Fourth of July shooter on rooftop kills 6 in Chicago's Highland Park suburb

Fourth of July shooter on rooftop kills 6 in Chicago's Highland Park suburb
July 5, 2022 Web Desk

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (Reuters) - A gunman perched on a rooftop opened fire on families waving flags and children riding bikes at a Fourth of July parade on Monday, killing six and wounding more than 36 in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.

The gunman climbed to the roof of a business using a ladder in an alley, police said. The attack turned a civic display of patriotism into a scene of panicked mayhem.

Hours later, police announced that they had a suspect in custody after 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III surrendered to authorities.

The main street in Highland Park is now a crime scene spanning blocks, strewn with abandoned chairs and flags. Witnesses came back to retrieve strollers and other items later on Monday but were told they could not go beyond the police tape.

"It sounded like fireworks going off," said retired doctor Richard Kaufman who was standing across the street from where the gunman opened fire, adding that he heard about 200 shots.

"It was pandemonium," he said. "People were covered in blood tripping over each other.”

The shooting comes with gun violence fresh on the minds of many Americans. Just hours after the shooting in Highland Park, two Philadelphia police offers were shot near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as thousands of people celebrated a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show, local officials and media said.

In May, a gunman murdered 19 school children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, just 10 days after a man shot dead 10 people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

The latest attack is likely to rekindle the debate about gun control and whether stricter measures can prevent mass shootings that happen so frequently in the United States.

Police said they did not know what the motive was for the shooting in Highland Park on Monday. Those wounded ranged in age from 8 to 85, including four or five children.

Nicolas Toledo, a man 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 suppose 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.

"As a family we are broken, and numb," she added.

Another victim was Jacki Sundheim, a teacher at a local synagogue in Highland Park. The North Shore Congregation Israel confirmed her death 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.