Six people are dead and 24 have been sent to hospital after a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago-area suburb of Highland Park, Illinois, according to local officials. Police are actively looking for the shooter.
At a press conference on Monday, law enforcement officials told media that the shooting appears “completely random” and it appears the shooter was on a roof with a rifle, which an official from the Lake County Sheriff’s Department says has been recovered.
Hundreds of officers are currently searching for the suspect and SWAT teams are knocking on doors in the small Chicago suburb. There is no indication the suspect is barricaded or has any hostages, according to police.
Police said the shooter is a white male, around 18-20 years old with long black hair and a small build, and is considered “armed and dangerous.”
Police responding to ‘active’ shooting at Independence Day parade in Illinois
In a statement on its website, the city warned residents to “shelter in place” as the hunt continues for the shooter, while a perimeter has been secured in the city’s downtown area. Illinois State Police are aiding local authorities.
Mayor Mary R. Rotering said during the conference that the shooting began at approximately 10:14 a.m. local time after the parade started at 10 a.m.
“Our community was terrorized by an act of violence that has shaken us to our core,” she said. “Our hearts go out to the families of the victims at this devastating time. On a day that we came together to celebrate community and freedom, we are instead mourning the tragic loss of life and struggling with the terror that was brought upon us.”
Gina Troiani and her son were ready to walk the parade route when she heard a loud sound she thought was fireworks until others said there was a shooter, she told the Associated Press.
“We just start running in the opposite direction,” she said.
“It was just sort of chaos … There were people that got separated from their families, looking for them. Others just dropped their wagons, grabbed their kids and started running.”
A U.S. representative for Illinois, Brad Schneider, tweeted that he was at the parade when the shooting began and said he and his team are safe and secure.
Highland Park is a suburb located on Chicago’s north shore.
More to come…
— with files from the Associated Press
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