A gunman opened fire on an Independence Day parade in a suburban Chicago on Monday, killing at least six people and wounding at least 30. The gunman on a rooftop sent hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers, and children on bicycles fleeing in terror. The parade was being held in a park in a suburban Chicago.
Authorities said a man named as a person of interest in the shooting was taken into custody on Monday evening after an hours-long search in and around Highland Park.
The July 4 shooting was just the latest in a string of shootings that have shattered the rituals of American life. Schools, churches, grocery stores, and community parades have become killing grounds recently. The shooting has left the nation reeling and searching for answers. What could explain this latest act of violence? Is there anything that can be done to prevent these shootings from happening again?
Highland Park Police Chief, named Lou Jogmen said, a police officer pulled over Robert E. Crimo III about five miles north of the shooting scene; a few hours later, police released the man’s photo and an image of his silver Honda and warned the public that he was an armed and dangerous man. Initially, authorities said he was 22, but an FBI bulletin and the suspect’s social media said he was 21.
Police refused to be known openly Crimo as a suspect but said identifying him as a person of interest and publicly sharing his name and other information – a serious step by the police. Crimo was developed as a suspect after analyzing phone records, social media posts, and surveillance footage. However, police say they are still working to confirm his involvement and are urging the public to remain vigilant.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman, Christopher Covelli, said at a news conference, “police have not released many details about the incident, but they have confirmed that several of the victims died at the scene and that one was taken to the hospital and later died. It is not clear how many people were involved in the shooting or what the motive may have been. It is a developing story, and we will continue to provide updates as more new information becomes available by any law enforcement agencies”.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said at a news conference, “It is absolutely devastating that a celebration of America was ripped apart by our uniquely American plague. I cannot imagine how the families of those who were killed or injured are feeling right now, and my heart goes out to them. This was a senseless act of violence that should never have happened. I want to thank the first responders who rushed to the scene and put their lives on the line to help others. You are the true heroes of this story. I also want to thank the investigators who are working tirelessly to determine what happened and why. We will not rest until those responsible are brought to justice. It was a tragic event, but it will not break our spirit. We are a strong and resilient nation and will get through this together”.
Highland Park Police Commander Chris O’Neill said that the gunman in the recent mass shooting apparently used a high-powered rifle to fire from a spot atop a commercial building. O’Neill said that the gunman was very difficult to see. Police found a ladder attached to the building and that the rifle was also recovered at the scene.
“It’s very random, very intentional, and a very sad day,” Covelli said. “It’s hard to believe somebody would do something like this.”
President Joe Biden on Monday said, “I was shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”
“This holiday has always been a day to celebrate our independence and freedoms,” Biden said. “But today, we are reminded that those freedoms come with a responsibility to keep our communities safe.”
Biden called on Congress to “take immediate action to pass commonsense gun safety legislation,” including background checks and a ban on assault weapons.
“Too many Americans are being killed by guns,” Biden said. “It has to stop.”
On Thursday, President Biden signed into law the most wide-ranging gun violence bill passed by Congress in decades. The bill, which was a compromise between Democrats and Republicans, showed at once both progress on a long-intractable issue and the deep-seated partisan divide that persists.
The bill includes several provisions to reduce gun violence, including expanding background checks, increasing funding for mental health services, and making it easier to track and prosecute gun traffickers. While the bill is not as comprehensive as some gun control advocates would like, it is a significant step forward and will help make our communities safer.
However, the fact that the bill had to be a compromise shows that there is still a long way to go before we can achieve real progress on gun violence. The deeply partisan divide on the issue means that any further progress will be difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, Thursday’s vote was a positive step in the right direction.
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