6 dead, 30 hurt in shooting at Chicago-area July 4 parade
By Michael Tarm, Kathleen Foody and Roger Schneider
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) — 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 hourslong
manhunt in and around Highland Park, an affluent community of about
30,000 on Chicago’s north shore.
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 killing grounds in recent months. This time,
the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find cause to celebrate its
founding and the bonds that still hold it together.
“It definitely hits a lot harder when it’s not only your hometown but
it’s also right in front of you,” resident Ron Tuazon said as he and a
friend returned to the parade route Monday evening to retrieve chairs,
blankets and a child’s bike that he and his family abandoned when the
“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said of what he called yet another
American atrocity. “We don’t blink anymore. Until laws change, it’s
going to be more of the same.”
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 five miles 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.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said
at a news conference “several of the deceased victims” died at the
scene and one was taken to a hospital and died there. Police have not
released details about the victims or wounded.
Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said the five people killed at the
parade were adults, but didn’t have information on the sixth victim
who was taken to a hospital and died there. One of those killed was a
Mexican national, Roberto Velasco, Mexico’s director for North
American affairs, said on Twitter Monday. He said two other Mexicans
NorthShore University Health Center received 26 patients after the
attack. All but one had gunshot wounds, said Dr. Brigham Temple,
medical director of emergency preparedness. Their ages ranged from 8
to 85, and Temple estimated that four or five patients were children.
Temple said 19 of them were treated and discharged. Others were
transferred to other hospitals, while two patients, in stable
condition, remained at the Highland Park hospital.
“It is devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by
our uniquely American plague,” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a
“I’m furious because it does not have to be this way… while we
celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have
become a weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”
The shooter opened fire around 10:15 a.m., when the parade was about
three-quarters through, authorities said.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill, the incident commander
on scene, said the gunman apparently used a “high-powered rifle” to
fire from a spot atop a commercial building where he was “very
difficult to see.” He said the rifle was recovered at the scene.
Police also found a ladder attached to the building.
“Very random, very intentional and a very sad day,” Covelli said.
President Joe Biden on Monday said he and first lady Jill Biden were
“shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought
grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”
Biden signed the widest-ranging gun violence bill passed by Congress
in decades, a compromise that showed at once both progress on a
long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that
As a word of an arrest spread, residents who had hunkered in homes
began venturing outside, some walking toward where the shooting
occurred. Several people stood and stared at the scene, with abandoned
picnic blankets, hundreds of lawn chairs and backpacks still where
they were when the shooting began.
Police believe there was only one shooter but warned that he should
still be considered armed and dangerous. Several nearby cities
canceled events including parades and fireworks, some of them noting
that the Highland Park shooter was still at large. The Chicago White
Sox also announced on Twitter that a planned post-game fireworks show
is canceled due to the shooting.
More than 100 law enforcement officers were called to the parade scene
or dispatched to find the suspected shooter.
More than a dozen police officers on Monday surrounded a home listed
as an address for Crimo in Highland Park. Some officers held rifles as
they fixed their eyes on the home. Police blockaded roads leading to
the home in a tree-lined neighborhood near a golf course, allowing
only select law enforcement cars through a tight outer perimeter.
Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the
stage name Awake the Rapper, posting on social media dozens videos and
songs, some ominous and violent.
In one animated video since taken down by YouTube, Crimo raps about
armies “walking in darkness” as a drawing appears of a man pointing a
rifle, a body on the ground and another figure with hands up in the
distance. A later frame shows a close-up of a chest with blood pouring
out and another of police cars arriving as the shooter holds his hands
In another video, in which Crimo appears in a classroom wearing a
black bicycle helmet, he says he is “like a sleepwalker… I know what I
have to do,” then adds, “Everything has led up to this. Nothing can
stop me, even myself.”
Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, ran unsuccessfully for
mayor of Highland Park in 2019, calling himself “a person for the
Highland Park is a close-knit community of about 30,000 people located
on the shores of Lake Michigan just north of Chicago, with mansions
and sprawling lakeside estates that have long drawn the rich and
sometimes famous, including NBA legend Michael Jordan, who lived in
the city for years when he played for the Chicago Bulls. John Hughes
filmed parts of several movies in the city, including “Ferris
Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles” and “Weird Science.”
Ominous signs of a joyous event suddenly turned to horror filled both
sides of Central Avenue where the shooting occurred. Dozens of baby
strollers — some bearing American flags, abandoned children’s bikes
and a helmet bedecked with images of Cinderella were left behind.
Blankets, lawn chairs, coffees and water bottles were knocked over as
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.
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.
“We just start running in the opposite direction,” she told The
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 its 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.
“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.”
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 AP. “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.”