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Seven Dead, 30 Injured in Chicago Independence Day Shooting


A Lake County police officer walks down Central Ave in Highland Park on July 4 | Image by Brian Cassela/Chicago Tribune

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At least seven people were killed and more than 30 were injured when a gunman opened fire on a crowd during an Independence Day parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, on Monday.

Around 10:24 a.m. CT, gunfire broke out from a rooftop near the intersection of Central Avenue and 2nd Street. The shooter likely used a ladder in an alley to climb up and gain access to the roof of a local business, according to authorities.

The shooter used a high-powered rifle similar to an AR-15, according to Lake Force Major Crime Task Force spokesperson Christopher Covelli. He added that the attack started near the final stretch of the parade route and was directed at bystanders.

Covelli said the suspect dressed in women’s clothing to disguise his identity and facilitate his escape. Law enforcement searched for several hours before locating the suspect, later identified as potentially being 21-year-old Robert Crimo III.

After the attack, the suspect fled into the crowd and made his way to his mother’s house nearby, where he took her car, according to Covelli. When someone in the neighborhood saw Crimo driving, they dialed 911.

Crimo eluded a traffic stop in Lake Forest, according to Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen. The chief indicated that Crimo anticipated questioning for his alleged involvement in the massacre. After a brief car chase, Crimo was apprehended by authorities around 6:30 p.m., Jogmen said.

Reportedly, a second rifle was found in Crimo’s car, and additional firearms were discovered at his Highwood home. He bought all of the weapons legally and under his name in Illinois, Covelli said.

Five adult victims died at the scene. One more victim died at the hospital. A day later, a seventh victim died.

Three of the deceased victims were identified as Nicholas Toledo, Jacki Sundheim, and Roberto Velasco, who was Mexico’s director for North American affairs.

Following the shooting, NorthShore University Health Center treated 26 of the victims. All but one suffered gunshot wounds, according to Dr. Brigham Temple, the medical director of emergency preparedness. Temple stated that the ages varied from 8 to 85. Four or five of the injured were children.

Nineteen were treated and released, according to Temple. Two patients, both in stable condition, remained at the Highland Park hospital while others were moved to other facilities.

The mass shooting is under investigation by the FBI and the Lake County Major Crimes Unit.

After questioning the suspect and looking over his social media posts, investigators were unable to identify a motive for the attack or find any evidence that the suspect targeted his victims based on race, religion, or any other protected status, Covelli said.

Covelli called the incident a “very random, very intentional and a very sad day.”     

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