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 22-year-old man named as a person of interest in the shooting was taken into police custody Monday evening after an hourslong manhunt.
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 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.
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.
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.
A witness said the shooting will change his community just as such shootings have changed so many others.
“Now it’s finally happened. We got our mass shooting, unfortunately,” Shawn Cotreau said. “Everyone’s going to see this on the news and they’re going to be like ‘Oh yeah, there was a mass shooting.’ And our town gets to be the town that gets to be like, ‘Oh yeah. It was us today.”
Travis Pittman contributed to this report.