A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people, wounding at least 30 and sending hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fleeing in terror, police said.
Authorities said a man named as a person of interest in the shooting was taken into police custody Monday evening after an hours-long manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community of about 30,000 on Chicago's north shore.
The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had staked out prime viewing points early in the day for the annual celebration.
Dozens of fired bullets sent hundreds of parade-goers — some visibly bloodied — fleeing. They left a trail of abandoned items that showed everyday life suddenly, violently disrupted: A half-eaten bag of potato chips; a box of chocolate cookies spilled onto the grass; a child's Chicago Cubs cap.
"There's no safe place," said Highland Park resident Barbara Harte, 73, who had stayed away from the parade fearing a mass shooting, but later ventured from her home.
Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said a police officer pulled over Robert E. Crimo III about eight kilometres north of the shooting scene, several hours after police released the man's photo and an image of his silver Honda Fit, and warned the public that he was likely armed and dangerous. Authorities initially said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo's social media said he was 21.
Police declined to immediately identify Crimo as a suspect but said identifying him as a person of interest, sharing his name and other information publicly, was a serious step.
The July 4 shooting was just the latest to shatter the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become scenes of fatal shootings in recent months. This time, the shooting came as the country tried to find cause to celebrate its founding and the bonds that still hold it together.
"It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague," Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference.
Late Monday night, hours after the Chicago-area shooting, two Philadelphia police officers were shot near the city's Benjamin Franklin Parkway as thousands of people celebrated a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show.
Both officers were released from hospital after suffering non-life threatening injuries, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said. Police were searching for the shooter.
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