Gunman fired more than 70 shots at July 4 parade in Chicago: Police

Investigators who questioned the suspect and viewed his social media posts have not determined the motive for the attack

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HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — The gunman who attacked an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago fired more than 70 rounds from an AR-15-style pistol that killed at least six people, then dodged the first capture by to dress as a woman and blend in with the fleeing crowd, police said Tuesday.

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A spokesman for the Lake County Major Crime Task Force told a news conference that the suspected gunman, who was arrested late Monday, used a high-powered rifle “similar to an AR-15” to shoot bullets from a commercial building into a crowd. who had gathered for the parade in Highland Park, a close-knit community on the shores of Lake Michigan that has long attracted the rich and sometimes celebrities.

More than 30 people were injured in the attack, which task force spokesman Christopher Covelli said the gunman had planned for several weeks.

Investigators who questioned the suspect and reviewed his social media posts have not established a motive for the attack or found any indication that he had targeted anyone based on race, religion or other protected status, Covelli said.

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The authorities have not filed any criminal charges.

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Earlier in the day, FBI agents peeked into trash cans and under picnic blankets as they searched for more evidence where the attacker opened fire. The shots were initially mistaken for fireworks before hundreds of revelers fled in panic.

A day later, prams, lawn chairs and other items left behind by panicked parade-goers remained within a wide police perimeter. Outside the police tape, some residents drove up to collect blankets and chairs they had left behind.

David Shapiro, 47, said the spray from gunfire quickly turned the parade into “chaos”.

“People didn’t immediately know where the gunfire was coming from, whether the gunman was in front of you or behind you,” he said Tuesday as he retrieved a stroller and lawn chairs.

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The shooting was the last time the rituals of American life were broken. Schools, churches, grocery stores and now community parades have all become killing zones in recent months. This time, the bloodshed came as the nation tried to find a reason to celebrate its founding and the ties that still hold it together.

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“It definitely hits a lot harder when it’s not just your hometown, but right in front of you,” said resident Ron Tuazon as he and a friend returned to the parade route Monday night to pick up chairs, blankets and a kid’s bike that were his family abandoned when the shooting began.

“It’s commonplace now,” Tuazon said. “We don’t blink anymore. Until the laws change, it will be more of the same.”

A police officer detained Robert E. Crimo III north of the shooting just hours after police released his photo, warning that he was likely armed and dangerous, Highland Park Police Chief Lou Jogmen said.

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Authorities initially said Crimo, whose father was once mayor of Highland Park, was 22, but an FBI bulletin and Crimo’s social media said he was 21.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered that American flags hang at half-mast until Saturday as a “sign of respect to the victims of the senseless acts of gun violence on our Independence Day.”

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The shooting occurred at a spot on the parade route where many residents had set out prime vantage points early in the day.

Among them was Nicolas Toledo, who visited his family in Illinois from Mexico. He was shot and died on the spot, his granddaughter, Xochil Toledo, told the Chicago Sun-Times. Also killed was Jacki Sundheim, a lifelong parishioner and “beloved” staff member at the nearby North Shore Congregation Israel, who announced her death on its website.

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Police have not released details about the victims, but Toledo’s granddaughter told the Sun-Times that Toledo had spent most of his life in Morelos, Mexico. Xochil Toledo said she remembers watching her grandfather, who was in his late seventies, when a tire passed them.

“He was so happy,” she said. “Happy to live in the moment.”

Xochil Toledo said her father tried to protect her grandfather and was shot in the arm. Her boyfriend was also shot in the back and taken to a hospital.

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Sundheim had spent decades on the staff of North Shore Congregation Israel, teaching at the congregation’s kindergarten and later coordinating events, “all with tireless dedication,” the congregation said in its statement announcing her death.

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“Jacki’s work, kindness and warmth have touched us all,” the statement said.

NorthShore University HealthSystem said it treated 39 people at four of its hospitals after the shooting. Nine people, ranging from 14 to 70, will remain in the hospital on Tuesday. One patient, a 69-year-old man, was in critical condition from a gunshot wound.

Since the beginning of the year, the US has seen 15 shootings that killed four or more people, including those in Highland Park, according to The Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University mass murder database.

Highland Park Police Chief Chris O’Neill said the gunman apparently fired from a roof where he was “very hard to see”. He said the gun was recovered at the scene. Police also found a ladder attached to the building.

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Covelli said Crimo bought the gun legally in Illinois for the past year.

In 2013, Highland Park officials approved a ban on assault weapons and ammunition magazines of more than 10 rounds. A local doctor and the Illinois State Rifle Association were quick to contest the liberal suburb’s stance. The legal battle ended on the doorstep of the US Supreme Court in 2015 when judges refused to hear the case and let the suburban restrictions remain in place.

Crimo, who goes by the name Bobby, was an aspiring rapper with the stage name Awake the Rapper, who posted dozens of videos and songs on social media, some of them ominous and violent.

In an animated video that has since been removed by YouTube, Crimo raps about armies “walking in darkness,” while a drawing appears of a man aiming a gun, a body on the ground and another figure with hands in the distance.

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Crimo’s father, Bob, a longtime deli owner, searched the mayor’s office in 2019, calling himself “a person for the people.”

The community of approximately 30,000 people on Chicago’s affluent North Shore has mansions and sprawling lakefront estates and was once home to NBA legend Michael Jordan.

Shapiro, the Highland Park resident who fled the parade with his family, said his 2-year-old son woke up screaming later that night.

“He’s too young to understand what happened. But he knows something bad happened,” Shapiro said. “That’s chilling.”

Foody contributed from Chicago. Associated Press writers Mike Balsamo in New York, David Koenig in Dallas, Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia, Fabiola Sanchez in Monterrey, Mexico, Jim Mustian in New Orleans, Bernard Condon in New York, and Martha Irvine and Mike Householder in Highland Park contributed reporting.

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